Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is a Holy Land to three monotheistic religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Jerusalem has become a popular Israel tour destination that attracts thousands of religious pilgrims each year. Christians have considered Jerusalem sacred for around 2,000 years. They revere the city, not only for its Old Testament history, but also because of the role it played in Jesus’ life. Jesus preached, taught, and healed in Jerusalem, where he was eventually crucified.
According to the New Testament, Jesus first went to Jerusalem days after his birth, when Mary and Joseph took him to the Temple to present him to the Lord. Thereafter, Jesus went to Jerusalem with his parents every year to celebrate the Feast of the Passover. After one of these Passover pilgrimages, when Jesus was 12 years old, Mary and Joseph returned home, thinking that Jesus was in the same caravan. Once they realized that Jesus was not with them, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After anxiously searching for three days, Mary and Joseph found Jesus sitting in the Temple Courts, listening to the teachers and asking them questions. Everyone who heard Jesus speak was amazed by how knowledgeable he was. When Mary asked Jesus why he stayed behind, Jesus answered: “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Christian Sites of Interest in Jerusalem
Jerusalem is teeming with churches and other holy sites that are of importance to Christians. Most of these sites are located in close proximity to each other, making it easy for visitors to commute between them. The following are some of the most important sites for Christian pilgrims to visit when taking an Israel tour:
- Garden Tomb. Located outside the city walls of Jerusalem, this rock-cut tomb is considered the site of the burial and resurrection of Jesus.
- Church of All Nations. Situated at the foot of the Mount of Olives, the Church of All Nations is where Jesus was last seen praying before being captured by the Romans and sentenced to death by crucifixion.
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Located in the heart of the Christian Quarter in Jerusalem´s Old City is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also known as the Church of the Resurrection. This church is venerated as Golgotha, the site where Jesus was crucified. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre has attracted Christian pilgrims since the 4 th century and has remained an important Israel tour destination.
- Mary’s Tomb. Mary’s Tomb, which is located on the foothills of the Mount of Olives, is regarded as the resting place of Jesus’ mother.
- Via Dolorosa. Along this street in the Old City of Jerusalem is where Jesus walked to his crucifixion while carrying his cross. Today, Via Dolorosa is marked by the Nine Stations of the Cross.
Want to take a meaningful Israel tour to explore the roots of your faith? At Christian Holyland Tours, we offer an array of carefully coordinated travel packages that allow you to explore Jerusalem’s most awe-inspiring attractions, including the above-mentioned. For more information, call 1.800.2.ISRAEL (973.535.2575).