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Jerusalem

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Trip List by davetheguide

Shore excursion: Jerusalem

30 Nov 2011  Long-time resident of Israel & historical expert
5.0 of 5 stars based on 8 votes

More and more visitors to Israel are opting to arrive at our shores by sea rather than via Ben- Gurion Airport. The cruise lines often include stops at the ports of Haifa and Ashdod on their Eastern Mediterranean itineraries.

If you're arriving at the port of Ashdod on a cruise ship and have only one day to tour Jerusalem, here's what not to miss.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Jerusalem
  • Category: Best of
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Never been before
  • Appeals to: Large groups, Seniors, Students, Budget travellers , Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Mount of Olives
    Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, Jerusalem District

    Panoramic view of the Holy City from the Mount of Olives

    There's no better way to start your day in the most fascinating city on earth than with the world's greatest photo opp from the top of the Mount of Olives. From here you'll get a sense of the natural topography of the city of Jerusalem and learn about its sanctity to the three great monotheistic faiths. The view from this vantage point can't be beat.

  • 2. Palm Sunday Route

    Besides the spiritual experience and the fascinating history, exploring Jerusalem means you'll get a lot of exercise. Get started by walking down the Palm Sunday route. The path follows the route Jesus took on his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. Along the way, get a peek of the most important Jewish cemetery on earth.

  • 3. Garden of Gethsemane
    Garden of Gethsemane, Jerusalem, Jerusalem District

    The highlight for many visitors on the Mount of Olives is a visit to the Basilica of the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here at the base of the mount, you'll find ancient olive trees and a modern basilica built on the remains of earlier Crusader and Byzantine churches.

    For the rest of the day, you've got several options. For those interested in a traditional Catholic experience, I suggest continuing with:

  • 4. Church of Saint Anne
    Church of Saint Anne, Jerusalem, Jerusalem District

    St. Anne's Basilica/Pools of Bethesda

    Here's you'll find two sites of significance adjacent one to the other. The Pools of Bethesda is a major archaeological site connected to one of Jesus' healing miracles as preserved in the Gospel According to John. St. Anne's Basilica is, perhaps, the loveliest preserved Crusader period church in the Holy Land and the traditional site of the birthplace of the Virgin Mary.

  • 5. Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross)
    Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross), Jerusalem, Jerusalem District

    Via Dolorosa - all 14 Stations

    If it's tradition you want, then certainly walk all 14 Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa. Highlights along the way include the "King's Game" etched into the flagstones in the Chapel of the Imposition of the Cross at Station II and the cool 'Ethiopian village' just beyond Station IX.

  • 6. Church of the Holy Sepulchre
    Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Jerusalem District

    It doesn't get better than this. Most historians and archaeologists (and needless to say millions of the Christian faithful) view the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the authentic site of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. In case time doesn't permit waiting on line to enter the Tomb, you should still make sure to head up the steep staircase at the church entrance to reach Calvary (Golgotha). Peek inside the Coptic Chapel where you'll find a piece of Jesus' Tomb.

  • 7. Western (Wailing) Wall
    Western Wall, Jerusalem, Jerusalem District

    It's the holiest accessible place on earth for the Jewish People. If you'd like to observe the tradition of placing your own personal prayer in the cracks of the wall, I suggest you write your note in advance to save precious time. Besides the antiquity and holiness of this site (don't forget modest dress!), here, you'll have the chance to see a rich variety of customs of various denominations of Orthodox Judaism.

    Before heading back to your ship, spend the late afternoon at the Israel Museum in the New City. There you'll have time to check out two of the museum's highlights - Shrine of the Book and the Model of Second Temple Jerusalem.

  • 8. Israel Museum
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Jerusalem District

    Shrine of the Book

    The Dead Sea Scrolls are, perhaps, the greatest biblical archaeological find ever discovered. These 2,000 years old Hebrew texts represent all books of the Hebrew Bible (excluding Esther) and then some! And the text itself is still legible and nearly 100% identical to our own Masoretic text of today. The scrolls are on display at their final resting place in the Shrine of the Book.

    Model of Second Temple Jerusalem

    A favorite place for me to end a day in Jerusalem is at the fabulous model of Second Temple period Jerusalem. This is where you'll find all the pieces of the historical puzzle you encountered earlier in the day will really come together for you. And once that's happened, you'll be ready to head back to the port of Ashdod.

    Now if the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church are not your thing, then upon leaving the Garden of Gethsemane, you might continue your tour with a stop at Mount Zion and, from there, enter the walls of the Old City at Zion Gate. You'll want to see:

  • 9. King David's Tomb
    King David's Tomb, Jerusalem, Jerusalem District

    An ancient tradition attributes this site to be the final resting place of King David. As a Jewish place of worship, please remember the separation of the sexes at the entrance and make sure that the men in your group cover their heads.

  • 10. The Cenacle
    The Cenacle, Jerusalem, Jerusalem District

    Although this structure directly above the Tomb of King David is certainly not the original room of the Last Supper, most scholars do hold that this event (likely a Passover 'seder' meal) did, indeed, take place in this location or the immediate vicinity. Mount Zion was the area of the city where the earliest Jewish believers in the divinity of Jesus gathered, so it's logical to assume that this is also the site of Pentecost.

  • 11. Jewish Quarter (Cardo)
    Jewish Quarter, Jerusalem, Jerusalem District

    Don't miss exploring the Byzantine period Cardo and a viewing of the 'Broad Wall,' one of the few material remains of First Temple period Jerusalem. Here in this part of the Old City, take in the atmosphere of a living and breathing ancient Jewish city revived.

    Your visit to the Jewish Quarter will culminate at the Western Wall and from there continue through the Arab Market to Station V of the Via Dolorosa where you'll follow the traditional route to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

  • 12. Church of the Holy Sepulchre
    Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Jerusalem District

    Church of Holy Sepulchre - a Protestant Perspective

    Even if you're not Catholic, I urge you to visit the traditional sites of Calvary and the Tomb. But once inside the rotunda, make sure to stop inside the Syrian chapel - this is a 'must' for those craving historical accuracy. You'll find inside that chapel a Second Temple period Jewish burial tomb - material evidence scholars use to back their claims of the church's historical accuracy.