Every year, hundreds of thousands of people set out to visit Israel on a holy land tour or various other religious tours of Israel available to those who seek to connect with their higher power. These sacred sites all hold extraordinary beauty, mystery, and power conveyed upon them by millennia of reverence. The official ownership and history of Israel’s holy places is a debate centuries upon centuries old in origination. The three greatest monotheistic religions in the world have fought over the rights to these lands going back to what feels like the beginning of time itself. It’s rich history and religious significance attracts tourists all over the world.
The Western Wall
One of the first places people visit on a holy land tour is the Western Wall. Part of a massive retaining wall built by King Herod around the Temple Mount, the Western Wall is the most discernable structure left from the Second Temple complex. Judaism’s greatest legacy to the world is mostly spiritual, but the gigantic stones of the Wall, each with its precisely carved edges, are a testimony to the physical strength of the ancient Jewish world. Over the centuries, this remaining fragment of The Temple complex has come to symbolize the unwavering attachment of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. Under Islamic governments, for well over a millennium, the Western Wall was the closest point that Jewish people were permitted to approach to the place where the Temple of Jerusalem once stood. Because of the sanctity and reverence of the Temple Mount itself, very observant Jews still refuse to go past the Western Wall to this day.
Dome of the Rock
When people think of Jerusalem, whether they realize it or not, Dome of the Rock is one of the first images that comes to mind. Built in A.D. 691, this glorious Islamic shrine covers the rock that was believed to be the foundation stone of the First and Second Temples. According to the Judaic faith, this rock was the altar upon which Abraham prepared to sacrifice his brother Isaac. The Islamic faith maintains the tradition that Abraham’s first son, Ishmael, the father of all the Arabic people, was called to be sacrificed by Abraham either upon the altar or at Mecca. The altar was also believed to be the point where the Prophet Mohammed ascended to glimpse upon heaven during his miraculous journey detailed in the 17th Sura of the Koran.
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Known as one of Christianity’s holiest places, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher covers the original sites of the crucifixion, entombment, and resurrection of Jesus. The significance of this site in the Christian religion is monumental. Those who take Christian tours of Israel will definitely need to stop off here. The site was built sometime around 330 A. D. and is evenly divided among the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Coptic, Syrian, and Ethiopian denominations of the church.
These are just a few of the monumental religious locations to see in Jerusalem when you visit Israel. Holy land tours will take you to some of the most important places you could see on your personal pilgrimage. Be sure to plan accordingly, and check out our group packages and deals on trips to visit Israel and other escorted tours that highlight Judaic or Christian heritage. For any questions on booking or pricing email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 247-7235.