It's one thing to read about the places mentioned in holy texts, but it's another thing to see and experience them for yourself. For religious travelers, a tour of the Holy Land can be a strong spiritual experience, bringing context and depth to your understanding of scripture. And even non-religious travelers can enjoy the fascinating history of places that hold a strong cultural and historical significance. Take a look at a few of the highlights that you may be able to enjoy on a Holy Land tour.
The Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, in addition to playing an important role in the New Testament, is also an interesting archeological and geographical site. The sea is really a large freshwater lake, fed by the Jordan River as well as a number of underground springs. The site is thought to be where one of the earliest permanent human settlements is located, and remains of hunter-gatherer sites and mud huts have been discovered in the area.
Near the Sea of Galilee, visitors can explore several hiking trails or visit the Tiberias Hot Springs where you can find massages, Turkish baths, and mud treatments if you feel in need of some pampering.
The Mount of Beatitudes
The Sermon on the Mount is perhaps the most famous sermon given in the New Testament, and the Mount of Beatitudes is where that sermon is commemorated. Located on the slope of the mount, the eight-sided Church of the Beatitudes was built with eight sides – one for each of the beatitudes.
The location is a particularly peaceful location with beautiful views. The church overlooks the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, and visitors can see all the way to the cliffs of the Golan Heights on the other side of the water. The site also boasts a beautifully landscaped garden that holds three altars, making it a perfect place for groups to worship.
Tabgha is thought to be the site where, in the New Testament, Jesus multiplied fish and loaves of bread in order to feed a crowd that had come to hear him speak. It's also a beautiful oasis. The foliage in the area remains lush and green even during dry summers when much of the rest of Israel's flora turns brown from lack of water. This is a result of nearby springs that keep the plants and palm trees at Tabgha well-watered year-round.
The site is also believed to be the site where Peter was reconfirmed by Jesus following the resurrection, known as the Primacy of Peter. Located in the area are two churches, the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes and the Church of the Primacy of Peter, both of which have features that are worth exploring.
These are just a few of the many fascinating sites that you can visit when you're on a Holy Land tour. If you're interested in exploring sites of religious importance and great historical value, take the time to look into the itineraries of some of the available Holy Land tours with a company such as YYY Tours.