Jesus in Jerusalem
Jerusalem isn't just one of the most beautiful places in the world, it is also a sacred place for Jews, Muslims and Christians. If you are a Christian traveling to Jerusalem, do not skip a visit to these amazing holy places:
The Mount of Olives: one of the most famous locations in Jerusalem, where Jesus wept over the future fate of Jerusalem. It offers beautiful views of the city and interesting attractions such as the Chapel of the Ascension. According to some, this is also the location of the Second Coming of Jesus.
The Dominus Flevit Church is located on the slope of the Mount of Olives. The tear-shaped roof top is said to have been inspired by the tears Jesus wept over Jerusalem's fate.
The Christian Quarter: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of Christianity's most sacred sites is located there. Surrounding the church are many other Christian sites of interest. The Via Dolorosa ends there. In the center of the quarter you will find coffee houses and restaurants, shops and hotels.
Via Dolorosa: The Stations of the Cross are among the best-known pilgrimage destinations and also the most important path for any Christian. This is the path that Jesus walked to his death carrying the cross. It starts in the Muslim Quarter, at the Lions Gate and ends at Golgotha inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The Great Craters of the Negev
The Negev area in the south of Israel is a beautiful and diverse region to visit, offering ancient cities like Beer Sheva, the vast desert, the unique Mitzpe Ramon crater and the green fields of the kibbutz settlements.
Here are some of the must-visit destinations in the Negev:
Ein Ovdat is a beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert. It is a natural water source for animals in their habitat, surrounded by white limestone cliffs, a popular place for those who come to enjoy the beauty of the site. Ein Ovdat is located in a steep canyon. The walk to the spot starts in Kibbutz Sdeh Boker, about two kilometers north of the spring and is particularly popular among hikers. It is also the site of the ancient Nabatean city Ovdat.
Masada: the famous Herodian fortress is in the south of Israel, in the middle of the Judean Desert and above the Dead Sea. The ruins found on the site date back to the 1st century BCE. The story of Masada has been a symbol of bravery and strength to the Jewish people for generations and it recounts the history of the Roman Empire and the Jewish people settlers at the end of the Second Temple period.
Ramon Crater: the biggest natural crater in the world is one of the most beautiful locations in the Israeli Desert. The colors of the landscape change throughout the day from purple and orange when the sun rises to blue, yellow and gold when it sets. Travelers can enjoy a number of different routes around and inside the crater.
The Golan Heights are one of the prettiest places to visit in Israel offering rolling green fields, black volcanic stone, beautiful snowy mountains (in the winter) and flowing streams surrounded by trees.
We have highlighted a few of the best places to see on the Golan Heights:
Banias Nature Reserve: located at the foot of the Hermon Mountain it offers beautiful nature spots for hiking and picnicking. Inside the reserve you will find Israel's largest waterfall and many archaeological sites.
Mount Bental: Overlooking the Syrian border and UN checkpoint, from the top of this dead volcano is a beautiful view of the hilltops of the Galilee, the entire Golan Heights and the heart of Syria - a "not to be missed" lookout point on the Golan Heights. On the top there is a wonderfull cafe-restaurant - "Cofee in the Clouds" (in hebrew Kofi Annan, also the former UN Secretary-General.)
Mt. Hermon Ski Resort: the only ski resort in Israel offers, in the winter of course, a beautiful snowy spot at Israel's most northern point. There is skiing and other winter sports activities during the short season of snow - generally January and February. During the rest of the year, the area is accessible for hiking and touring.
Hamat Gader: a lovely and peaceful site in the south of the Golan Heights. Hamat Gader hosts one of the best natural health and spa centers, with relaxing hot springs that have been used by man for thousands of years. Aside from the natural hot springs, there are pools and a spa offering thermal treatments. There are also good restaurants at the site and nearby.
Berry Picking: many of the farmers who live on the Golan Heights grow fruit, including cherries. During the May to June picking season, the visitors are invited to pick fruit from the orchards. Most of these places are located in beautiful rural green areas and are great fun when traveling with children.
The Golan Heights
The desert, the salt, the sea and the history. The road between Jericho and the Dead Sea along Israel's eastern border is one of the country's most interesting attractions. It offers a fascinating mix of Jewish, Muslim and Christian sites, beautiful scenery and interesting stories from days gone by. Here are a few must-see destinations in the area:
Mount of Temptation: rising to a hight of more than 300 meters above the level of the Dead Sea, the mountain offers a beautiful panoramic view of Jericho, Jordan and the Great Rift Valley. The monastery on the mountain connects to the story of Jesus and his 40 days and nights fast during the temptation of Satan.
Nebi Musa: According to Muslim belief, the tomb of the prophet Moses is located about 10 km from Jericho in the Judean desert.
Qumran: one of the most interesting and beautiful archaeological sites in Israel is located about 20 km from Jericho on the western shore of the Dead Sea. This place offers a glimpse into the way of life of the Essene sect. The dining hall, kitchen, living quarters and scriptorium have all been excavated. Nearby, inside caves in the cliffs above the site, is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947.
Dead Sea: The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and a must- see and a place to relax during a few days off from traveling. It is famous for its high saline and mineral concentration because of which you cannot sink. Along its beaches you will find hotels, motels, restaurants, shopping and many other attractions. There are a number of world-class health and spa treatment centers which use the black mud and minerals for which the Dead Sea is famous.