If you are a student of the Bible you should consider taking a tour of the Holy Land.
Let’s discuss three countries and host of sites that would be make the Old and New Testament come alive.
Egypt: Cairo, Museum of Antiquities, Citadel, and the Nile
The Museum of Antiquities, houses some of the great treasures of Egypt such as the artifacts from King Tut’s tomb. Visit the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque and you can even enjoy a dinner cruise down the Nile River. The Nile is one of the greatest rivers on the Earth and was the site for the rise of ancient civilization. Here you will also see some Nile hippopotamuses and crocodiles.
Egypt: Great Pyramids at Giza, Sphynz, Saqqara
Plan a tour to Lower Egypt where your main destination should be the Great Pyramids where you could ride a camel and then onto the Sphinx at Giza, one of the wonders of the world. Take a visit to Memphis and the pyramid at Saqqara, which is one of the oldest step-pyramids in the world. A tour to this region should include shopping at the Papyrus factory, rug shops, and jewelry shops. While visiting the Papyrus factory you can have your favorite hieroglyphs painted on a scroll of papyrus.
Egypt: Luxor, Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Temple of Karnak
Luxor was known as the ancient Thebes and should be on any tour of the Holy Land. Move onto to explore the famous Valley of the Kings where King Tut and many other Pharaoh’s were buried. Go onto to visit the Valley of the Queens and Queen Hatshepsut’s Tomb and the temples of Luxor and Karnak. The temple at Luxor was started around 1400 B.C. around the time of the Exodus, and the nearby temple of Karnak (which was also part of ancient Thebes) was begun even much earlier. Karnak is often the highlight of a trip to the Country of Egypt. A trip to this area will amaze and astonish you as you view the massive temple columns of the Luxor Temple, the beauty of the stone sculptures and hieroglyphs, and the temple scenes in the Holy of Holies.
Other Egyptian sites to visit are the Obelisk at Karnak, Colosal of Memnon, the Temple Wall and Pillars at Karnak, and the Avenue of Sphinxes at Luxor.
Amman is one of the most ancient and longest continually inhabited settlements on Earth. It was an early farming town, long before the times of Abraham, and was inhabited and controlled by several different civilizations, including the Ammonites (where it was first called Ammon), Assyrians, Greeks (where it was re-named Philadelphia), Nabataeans (Petra), Romans, and Byzantine Christians. Later it came under the control of the Kingdoms of Damascus and Baghdad and then declined until the last two centuries, when the railroad made it once again a major stopping point.
Jordan: Petra Ruins
Petra is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Petra is a Nabataean city made rich from the frankincense trade. This ancient city was carved into the sandstone rocks, and was made popular by the American traveler, John Lloyd Stevens, in the 1800s. More recently, Petra was seen in the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. From a scriptural angle, Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, settled in this area, and Herod the Great also came from this area.
Jordan: Kerak, Madaba, Mount Nebo
Kerak, is an ancient crusader stronghold and Bible town with striking views of the Dead Sea. It was originally an important city of the Moabites, and later civilizations like those who controlled Amman. Here you can view the magnificent castle left by the Crusaders.
Travel to the nearby town of Madaba, also originally a Moabite town that was mentioned in the Bible, and similarly occupied by the same list of later civilizations such as Amman. In Madaba is the discovery of a large Byzantine era mosaic map of the Holy Land. A stop at Mount Nebo, which is the traditional location where Moses viewed the Promised Land at the end of this life mentioned in the Old Testament. A view from this summit provides a panoramic view of the Holy Land, including a sight of Jericho, and even Jerusalem on a clear day!
Other sites of interest are the King Abdullah Mosque, Amman Amphitheatre, Ancient Philadelphia and make sure to visit an Amman spice shop.
Jordan: Jerash Ruins
The ruins of Jerash are one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the Middle East. Jerash was part of the Decapolis, a group of 10 cities in Jordan, Israel, and Syria, that were founded by the Greeks after Alexander the Great and later became the main cities under Roman rule in the Holy Land. Crossing the Jordan border
Israel: River Jordan, Nazareth, Nain
After crossing the Jordan border, you will see the River Jordan, which was the river where John baptized Jesus. Nazareth was the childhood home of the Savior. In Nazareth you can see the Church of the Annunciation, the traditional site where Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she would bear the Son of God. Visit the Nazareth Village, which is an open-air museum that reenacts village life in the Galilee region at the time of Jesus. Make a stop at Nain, where the Savior brought back to life the widow’s son.
Israel: Haifa, Muhraqa, Megiddo, Caesera Maratima, Mount Tabor (Mount of Transfiguration)
Haifa is one of Israel’s main seaports where you can visit Mt. Carmel. Overlook the stunning grounds of the Baha’I Temple, one of the most beautiful spots in Israel. Visit Muhraqa where Elijah the Prophet had his great encounter with the wicked priests of Baal. From this towering hill you will have the best view of the Valley of Jezreel where the final of Armageddon will be fought. At Tel Megiddo you can explore one of Israel’s best ruins, with 20 levels of ancient cities layered on top of each other. This city was one the main route from Egypt to Assyria, heading up the Mediterranean Coast of Israel and then through a mountain pass that Megiddo controlled. It was attacked in 1487 B.C. by Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III, and it is also where King Josiah of the Old Testament was slain. Mount Tabor, the traditional site of the Mount of Transfiguration, where the Savior spoke with Elijah and Moses, and the Father.
Israel: Yardenet, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes, Tagbha, Sea of Galilee
Visit the sites of the Lord’s mission in the Galilee area such as Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Tiberias. Visit the Mount of Beatitudes, the site of the greatest sermon ever delivered. Take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee where Christ calmed the sea and then walked on water.
Israel: Masada, Jericho, Mount of Temptation, Jerusalem
No tour of Israel should miss Masada, where the last group of Jews held out during the Roman invasion of Israel at 70 A.D. Drive by the site of Old Jericho and the Mount of Temptation, the wilderness place where Jesus went before his mission. View the Old City of David and take a look at the pool of Siloam and Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Enter Stephan’s Gate and visit the Pool of Bethesda where Christ healed a man. Walk under the Ecco Homo Arch where it is believed that Christ was brought before Pilate and where the soldiers mocked him. Take a visit to the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies where you can see the model of ancient Jerusalem and visit the Shrine of the Book museum.
Israel: Bethphage, Garden of Gethsemane, Mount Zion, “Upper Room,” Calvary, Garden Tomb
Spend a sacred day as you see the sites of the last week of the Lord’s life and His Great Atoning Sacrifice for all. Visit Bethphage, where Jesus’ disciples borrowed a donkey for the Lord to make his Triumphal entry into the Hold City. At the Garden of Gethsemane, the atonement of the Lord will take on a much deeper meaning for all who visit and contemplate. Go on to visit Mount Zion and onto St. Peter’s of Galicantu, the place where the cock crowed thrice, and Christ was illegally tried before the Sanhedrin. Visit the “Upper Room” the traditional site of the Last Supper. Experience Calvary where the Savior was crucified and the Garden Tomb. Feel peace as you walk inside the empty tomb and remember the words of the angel to Mary, “He is not here, for He is risen!”