A Christian Tour Leader throughout the holiday
Return Economy Airfares
3 Night Aegean Cruise with CFT shore excursions
Quality hotel accommodation with private facilities
Sightseeing as outlined and all entry fees
Luggage assistance at hotels
Our wonderful holiday begins with an evening flight from Australia Melbourne / Adelaide / Sydney / Brisbane / Perth through to Dubai and onto Amman, Jordan.
In Dubai, we will connect with our morning flight to Amman, the capital city of Jordan. We have arranged an early check-in, so you can have an opportunity to rest before we enjoy a city tour in the afternoon. Situated on a hilly area between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley, Amman is a fascinating city of contrasts, a modern metropolis co-existing amongst numerous ancient ruins. Included in our sightseeing is the archaeological ruins of Rabth Ammon (Rabbah), the site of Uriah’s death on the orders of King David. At the hotel we will enjoy our first group dinner together.
This morning we travel to Jerash where we will share in our own time of worship. inhabited since the Bronze Age, Jerash is considered one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. We pause at the River Jabok a little upstream of where Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord and had his name changed from Jacob to Israel.
We visit the mountainous region east of the Jordan River known in the Bible as Gilead. Here, at Wadi Kharrar, one of the most important recent discoveries in biblical archaeology was made, an ancient baptismal site called Al-Maghtas (“baptism” or “immersion” in Arabic). In the last 20 years archaeologists have uncovered more than 20 churches, caves and baptismal pools dating from the Roman and Byzantine period.
This archaeological site on the east bank of the Jordan River is believed to be the biblical Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan, where John the Baptist lived and Jesus was baptized. This site is holy in Judaism and Islam as well as Christianity and we will take time to tour the ancient ruins and baptism pools. Elijah’s Hill (Jabal Mar-Elias) is also to be found in this area and in 2005 the whole area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. What a perfect way to spend a Sunday.
This morning we will travel south along the 5,000-year-old King’s Highway, one of the most memorable journeys in the Land of the Bible.
We pass through some of Jordan’s loveliest countryside and a string of ancient sites and come to Madaba, “the City of Mosaics.” The most famous of the mosaics lies in the contemporary Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, a wonderfully vivid, sixth-century Byzantine mosaic map showing Jerusalem and other holy sites. Today the strong Christian connection continues with Madaba home to the largest Christian population in Jordan.
A short drive west brings us to the most revered Biblical site in Jordan, Mount Nebo, where we visit the memorial of Moses. A small, square church was built by early Byzantine Christians on the presumed site of the prophet’s death.
We travel south to Wadi Rum, famous as the home of “Lawrence of Arabia” and a unique moonscape terrain of ancient river beds, wind sculpted mountains, vast desert vistas and smooth, pastel-coloured sands. Long skirted legionnaires will offer us cardamom-spiced coffee at the “Beau Geste” before dinner and overnight accommodation at the Wadi Rum Bedouin camp – a truly memorable experience and a fitting end to a marvellous day.
Tuesday morning we will explore the famous Wadi (valley) on a 2-hour jeep tour of the desert with highlights being the ancient rock art and the enormous Seven Pillars of Wisdom formation. We leave Wadi Rum, passing by Mount Edom and Ain Mousa (Moses Springs) on our way to the archaeological marvel of Petra; carved from the rose-red stone of Sharah Mountains it is famously known as the “Rose City “of Jordan. This afternoon you will have time at leisure and tomorrow we will explore the site together.
Dating to around 300 B.C. Petra was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom but was lost for centuries to the Western world. The Crusaders were the last Westerners to visit before it was “re-discovered” in 1812 by the Swiss explorer, Burckhardt – you are sure to be as overwhelmed as Burckhardt was by its extraordinary beauty. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site – The Treasury, the Roman Theatre, the Courts, Qasr Bint Pharaoun, Temple of the Winged Lion and other monuments, which, in 2007, were named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
We journey to the Bronze-Age archaeological site of Tall el-Hammam, believed to be Sodom, the Biblical “city of sin”; this ancient metropolis, along with its neighbouring city of Gomorrah, were described in the Old Testament as being destroyed by fire and brimstone.
We visit the great Herodian fortress of Macherud – now called Mukawir – best known as the location of the imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist. The royal courtyard of the palace is considered one of the closest and best existing archaeological parallels to the Herodian Gabbatha in the Jerusalem Praetorium, where Pontius Pilate judged Jesus of Nazareth.
From Mukawir we travel to the Dead Sea, the salt lake whose banks are more than 400m below sea level, the lowest point on dry land. Its famously hypersaline water makes floating easy, and its mineral-rich black mud is used for therapeutic and cosmetic treatments.
Thursday morning we cross over into Israel where we meet our coach and guide for the Israel section of the tour. We drive south through the Jordan River valley to our first stop, Qumran. It was here that the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered; these 981 texts were found in eleven different caves and are believed to date from 300 BC to 100 AD.
We make a short stop at the Springs of Ein Gedi, the place where David hid from King Saul, before we drive up to the rocky fortress of Masada. This majestic UNESCO heritage-listed fortress was built by King Herod and was the site of the historical last stand of the zealots against mighty Rome. Our day’s final destination is a resort on the Dead Sea where you can swim (or really float) in the resort’s own salt water pools.
“From Dan to Beersheba” is a biblical phrase that refers to the settled areas of the Tribes of Israel between Dan in the North and Beersheba in the South. Today we visit the southern part of the Promised Land, Beersheba (Beersheva), an area known also for the Australian Light Horse Cavalry attack in World War I. Our itinerary today takes us through Beersheva to Hebron, first mentioned in the Old Testament in connection with Abraham and an important city in the very early days of the history of the Bible. From here we travel through the Elah Valley, where the battle of David and Goliath was fought, and then onto our overnight destination of Netanya on the coastal seafront of the Mediterranean Sea.
We travel to Caesarea, an important link for non-Jewish people (Gentiles) to the Bible Story, and then we step back in time to when the prophet Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. This area is also famous for events such as the battle of Gideon and Deborah, along with the prophesied Battle of Armageddon. Our drive from Mount Carmel will take us past Nazareth, Jesus’ boyhood village, as we drive to our accommodation on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. A sunset boat trip on the Sea of Galilee will be a most memorable experience to finish another wonderful day in the Holy Land.
On Sunday we will visit many sites important to Jesus’ ministry including Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ activities in Galilee. Here, Jesus taught in the local synagogue and it was the home town of the apostles Peter, James, Andrew and John, and the tax collector Matthew. At the Sea of Galilee Boat Museum we will view an ancient fishing boat from the 1st Century AD, like those used by the fishermen in the Gospels. A short stop in Tabgha, site of the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, will take us to St Peter’s Primacy where Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection. We then travel to Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. We also explore the ruins at Caesarea Phillipi where Jesus brought his disciples to ask “Who do people say that I am?”
We travel to the River Jordan and a traditional Baptism site. We will pass Mount Tabor, the traditional Mount of Transfiguration and follow the Jordan Valley to Jericho. Jericho is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and it is where Jesus healed a blind beggar. When we visit the Holy Land we make sure we go “up” to Jerusalem, and excitement mounts as we drive into this very special city with an overview from Mount Scopus.
On Tuesday we drive to the Mount of Olives; enjoy looking down upon Jerusalem before visiting the Church of the Pater Noster, the site on which Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer. To commemorate the Ascension, Emperor Constantine built a church over a cave here in the 4th Century and today we can see it partially reconstructed.
Together we will walk the Palm Sunday Path and visit the little teardrop shaped Church of Dominus Flevit, recalling the Gospel incident when Jesus wept over the future fate of Jerusalem. We will visit the Garden of Gethsemane where our Lord prayed, and his disciples slept the night before his crucifixion. The Basilica of Agony enshrines a section of the bedrock where Jesus prayed before his arrest.
We enter the Old City through the Lion’s Gate and visit the Pools of Bethesda. We then walk the Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa. We will be inspired by Christendom’s holiest of sites, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. From here we go to Mount Zion and marvel at the Cenacle or “Upper Room”, the site of the Last Supper, before visiting the beautiful Dorminton Abbey.
This morning we visit the Western Wall and the Cardo in the ancient heart of Jerusalem. We will view the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, before visiting the Israel Museum. See a model of Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Shrine of the Book. We travel to Bethlehem, the birth place of our Saviour, visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherds’ Fields.
A wonderful conclusion to this journey through the Land of the Bible as we make a guided visit of the Garden Tomb and we finish the day with the Tower of David Sound and Light Show in the evening.
We fly to Munich, the beautiful capital of Bavaria in the far South of Germany, where the European leg of of our wonderful tour begins.
On Friday we will explore the best Munich has to offer with our city tour including historic Marienplatz, the city’s central square since 1158. The square is dominated by the New Town Hall (famous for the Glockenspiel) and the reconstructed gothic Old Town Hall and Marian Column. Watch the Glockspiel mechanical display and enjoy time at leisure in central Munich. From here it is off to the superb Nymphenburg Palace, once the summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs and one of the largest royal palaces in Europe.
Saturday is the day we have long been anticipating, a chance to experience the unique event that is the original Passion Play. Since 1634 the Villagers of Oberammergau have performed the “Play of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ” once every 10 years to fulfil their solemn oath to God. In 2020 it will be the 42nd time the Community of Oberammergau have performed the Passion Play that they have preserved throughout the centuries. After a relatively short drive from Munich we will have time to admire the town’s beautiful muralled buildings before a light lunch. After lunch prepare yourself for an incredibly emotional experience – the Passion of Christ.
Sunday we farewell Oberammergau and travel to Salzburg, believed to be the first place north of the Alps to receive Christianity and gateway for the spread of faith into Germanic Europe. We will visit St. Peter’s Church and Abbey, the spiritual heart of the city since the church’s foundation in the 7th century. Aside from its striking Christian architecture, the cemetery and catacombs are also a must-see for fans of “The Sound of Music”. Drive by the nearby 10th century Nonnberg Convent one of the world’s oldest continually active convents and known to us as home to “Fraulein Maria.”
Salzburg is synonymous with music and famous as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Enjoy a late afternoon wander through the historic centre with our local guide – amongst the many pretty town houses and mansions we will also see Mozart’s birth place in Getreidegasse and his later residence.
Monday morning we will drive out to the glorious Mondsee Lake and visit the baroque St Michael Basilica, made famous for the wedding scene in the “Sound of Music” movie. Enjoy picture postcard views as we travel through spectacular alpine scenery.
We arrive in beautiful Vienna in the afternoon.
Tuesday is a chance to enjoy the glory of Vienna – whether you love baroque streetscapes, imperial palaces, artistic and musical masterpieces or old-world coffee-houses, Vienna offers something for everyone. A morning city tour will take us to see St Stephen’s Cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece with its distinctive tiled roof. Be amazed at the secular and ecclesiastical treasures as we tour the Hofburg Palace and the Imperial Treasury.
The rest of the day you can spend at leisure – explore the Museum Quarter and see the works of such artistic greats as Klimt, Van Gogh, Da Vinci and Rembrandt or enjoy people watching as you indulge in afternoon tea at a KaffeeHaus. Don’t forget to try Vienna’s famous “Sacher-Torte”, the chocolate cake invented for royalty in 1832. The European leg of our wonderful spiritual journey is at an end so tonight we will celebrate with a delicious farewell meal.
After breakfast Wednesday, we will be transferred to the airport for our flight to Athens, the capital of Greece and the heart of its ancient empire.
On arrival in Athens we will be meet and transferred to our hotel. Athens was an important stop on St Paul’s missionary journey and it is from here that we start our own travels in his footsteps.
Today we visit Corinth (Acts 18:1-18), a city that inspired Paul’s most familiar letter. You’ll visit the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place, the Temples, and walk among the ruins and stand on the Bema where Paul stood. Whilst there we’ll read some of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and visualize his address to the Gentiles as he began the task of building Corinth’s church. Take time to imagine where Aquila and Priscilla lived and where they had their tent making business. Enjoy a cruise along the Corinth Canal before our return to Athens.
After breakfast Friday we will be transferred to the “Celestyal Olympia” where will begin our 3-night cruise around the Aegean. Our first port of call is Mykonos; the whitewashed streets and windmills of this Cycladic Island will enchant you. Free time to walk the winding narrow streets or enjoy the beautiful sunset from the waterfront! We will then set sail for the Turkish city of Kusadasi.
From Kusadasi we visit Ephesus, the most impressive archaeological site in Turkey; its excavated remains reflect centuries of history, from classical Greece to the Roman Empire to the spread of Christianity. In the 1st Century AD the Apostle Paul spent 3 years in Ephesus preaching the Gospel and we will tour the Great Amphitheatre where the crowds chanted for two hours in protest of Paul’s preaching. Nearby is the legendary House of the Virgin Mary that we will also visit. This afternoon we cruise to the island of Patmos, known as the “Holy Island” for the Christian faith. We’ll visit the grotto where the Book of Revelation was written during John’s exile from the Roman Empire, and see the 11th Century Monastery of St John, home to over 300 beautifully preserved early manuscripts, including a Gospel of Luke.
Heraklion is Crete’s largest city and one of Greece’s major urban centres. Titus travelled here from Corinth to present the Apostle Paul’s fundraising letter and it is believed that he remained in the city of Candia (present day Heraklion) until his death. Crete was once the centre of the Minoan civilization (2700 to 1600BC), an empire that stretched to other Aegean Islands such as Santorini. This afternoon we will travel to Santorini, a breathtaking island believed to be the lost continent of Atlantis. In the early evening, we will embark the ship for the return trip to Athens.
After disembarkation we start our tour to Northern Greece. Here we visit Delphi, whose famed temple and oracle was so important in the ancient world that the site was known as the “Omphalos” (navel) or centre of the earth. We visit the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo, Pythios and its museum, set in a landscape of unparalleled beauty on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. We travel onto Kalambaka, a picturesque town located at the foot of the incredible rock formations of Meteora.
On Tuesday morning visit the famed Meteora Monasteries, one of the most important religious complexes in Greece. Set on top of a series of giant sandstone pillars, the monasteries appear to be suspended in mid-air. Dating from the 11th Century these are still active religious communities and offer us insights into the historic church as well as exquisite examples of Byzantine art. On the way to Thessaloniki we will drive to Veria (ancient Berea), visiting the memorial that commemorates Paul’s preaching to the local Jews in 54AD (Acts 17).
On Wednesday we visit Philippi where Paul delivered a sermon that sowed the seeds of Christianity. A moving and special time will be spent remembering the baptism of Lydia, the first baptism on European soil, as well as the imprisonment and conversion of the Philippian gaoler (Acts 16:11-15;16- 34). Amongst the ruins, located on the rocky ledge above the town’s main road is the actual site of the prison where Paul and Silas were thrown. This is the Bible truly coming alive! From Philippi we continue on to the modern port city of Kavala, once ancient Neapolis. It was here that Paul first set foot in Europe, accompanied by Silas, Luke and Timothy.
Paul first came to Thessaloniki in 50-51 AD during his second missionary journey and it was here that he established the second Christian community in Europe (after Philippi) and wrote his letter to the Thessalonians. This morning we will explore Thessaloniki, visiting the Agora where Paul preached and Byzantine Churches, including the Church of St. Dimitris, the caves and Well of Apostle Paul, the House of Jason and the Monastery of Vlatadon. Other highlights include the ancient walls that once surrounded the town, the White Tower, the Roman Market, theatre and baths and Arch of Galerius. In the afternoon we fly back to Athens where our cruise will depart the following day.
After breakfast Friday we disembark in Athens for a wonderful day of sightseeing. We begin with a visit the ancient citadel of the Acropolis that dominates the city skyline; these 5th Century BC ruins include the famous Parthenon. It is a great moment when we ascend the nearby Areopagus (Mars Hill) where Saint Paul delivered his famous “Men of Athens” speech (Acts 17:15). This site is just south of the ancient Agora or market place. We will also drive past the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Presidential Palace, Hadrian’s Arch, and the Panathenaic (Olympic) Stadium, before arriving at the airport for our flight home. This afternoon we will travel to the airport for our flight to Dubai. On arrival in Dubai we will be transferred to our hotel for two nights.
Today is a full day of leisure in Dubai. You might like to visit the famous Dubai Mall, explore the Gold and Spice Souks or choose one of the many optional tours (available on tour). Tonight, will be a fitting end to our holiday as we enjoy a dinner cruise along the historic Dubai Creek. What a wonderful experience of faith and fellowship we have shared.
After breakfast Sunday, we will be transferred to the airport for our final flight home to Australia.
Our wonderful holiday may be at an end, but we hope that this unique pilgrimage with fellow Christians has enhanced your own personal spiritual journey.
11 September 2020
11 October 2019
11 September 2020
11 October 2019