Bahai News - Millennium Must-Sees ... and More!

Millennium Must-Sees ... and More!

Issue: Feb 15, 1999

There are so many beautiful, exciting and significant places to visit in Israel, it would be impossible to describe them all here, so we've selected some 65 highlights.

Included on these pages are many cities, sites and structures with special relevance for the Millennium--relating to the places and events of Jesus' time.

Akko: A town that has been redefined throughout history by campaigns and crusaders, today it showcases many attractions including remnants of a Canaanite settlement, a Citadel, a mosque and a souk. North of Haifa

Ashkelon: One of the five great Philistine cities, seaside Ashkelon is associated with Samson and Delilah. Its national park holds the ruins of Herodian colonnades, ancient synagogues and an ancient Roman amphitheater. South of Tel Aviv

Bahai Shrine: Located on the grounds of the exquisite Bahai Gardens. Pays homage to the founder of the Bahai faith. Haifa

Basilica of the Annunciation: Built on the site where the Archangel Gabriel is believed to have delivered his message to Mary that she would give birth to Jesus. The lower floor enshrines the Grotto of the Annunciation over the remains of Mary's house. Nazareth

Beersheba: Abraham's first home in the Promised Land and the springboard for desert sightseeing. The colorful Thursday Bedouin Market is a popular visitor attraction, as is the Turkish Old Town and the Negev Museum. Negev

Bethany: The small town, just east of the Mount of Olives, where Jesus began his final journey, into Jerusalem, on Palm Sunday. East of Jerusalem

Bet Hatefutsot, Museum of the Jewish Diaspora: A series of themed exhibits tells the story of the tribulations, achievements and unity of the Jewish people, dispersed throughout the world, during a time span of 2,500 years. Tel Aviv

Bethlehem: Jesus was born here, while Joseph and Mary were in town for the census. There was no room at the inn, so the child was born in a manger. The Church of the Nativity stands over the cave believed to be that manger. The present church, built in the eighth century, replaced the smaller church ordered by Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine. Like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, it is shared by several denominations: Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian. South of Jerusalem, under Palestinian administration

Bet Shean: Romans lived here in one of the Byzantine Empire's largest cities, destroyed by an earthquake in the eighth century. The Roman theater, with three of its original rows of seats intact, is still used for performances. Jordan Valley

Bible Lands Museum: This museum focuses on the history, cultures and civilizations found in the Bible and displays artifacts from ancient times. Jerusalem

Caesarea: Much remains intact in this city, built by King Herod the Great, including an amphitheater, archways of an aqueduct, two underwater towers and six colossal statues. North of Tel Aviv

Cana: According to the Gospels, it was here that the newly baptized Jesus performed his first miracle, turning water into wine at a wedding feast. Two small churches in the village commemorate the event. Galilee

Capernaum: The city where Jesus preached was also the home of Peter the Apostle. Visitors will find the remains of a third-century synagogue and mosaics from a fifth-century chapel. Galilee

Cathedral of St. James: This church of the Crusader era is the cornerstone of the Armenian Church. It honors two Jameses: the disciple, who was stoned to death, and James the Apostle, who was beheaded. The remains of both are within the church--the disciple's body is under the altar, the Apostle's head is in a chapel. Jerusalem

Chapel of the Ascension: A modest building atop the Mount of Olives. It is from here, some believe, that Jesus ascended into heaven. A mark on the floor is said to be the footprint of Jesus. Jerusalem

Chapel of the Primacy of Peter: On the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the chapel is built on the spot where the resurrected Jesus appeared to his disciples and made Peter the head of the Church. Tabgha

Church of St. Anne: Considered one of the world's most perfect Crusader churches. Here, according to tradition, Mary's parents lived adjacent to the Pool of Bethesda, just inside Lion's Gate/St. Stephen's Gate. Jerusalem

Church of the Beatitudes: A domed, eight-sided structure on the hill where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. The hill is a natural amphitheater. Galilee

Church of the Holy Sepulchre: This site encloses the last five "Stations of the Cross" and is believed by many to be the site of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Jerusalem

The Dead Sea: This mineral-rich, salty body of water, along with its hot springs, has been known for centuries for its medicinal qualities and the buoyancy that makes it impossible for anyone to sink. The South

Eilat: Resort area reknowned for its grand hotels, Red Sea beaches, watersports (snorkeling, scuba diving, wind surfing) and hedonistic atmosphere. Negev

En Karem: A village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, birthplace of John the Baptist, and where Mary is said to have visited John's mother. The Sanctuary and Church of the Visitation and Church of John the Baptist commemorate the events. West of Jerusalem

Frederic Mann Auditorium: The home of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Helena Rubinstein Art Museum and Israel's Habima Theater are housed in this performing arts complex. Tel Aviv

Garden Tomb: This English-style garden is located on the site of a dual-chambered cave believed by many Protestants and Evangelical Christians to be the tomb from which Jesus rose from the dead. Jerusalem

Garden of Gethsemane: Within the courtyard of the Basilica of the Agony (Church of All Nations), eight of the olive trees that flourish here are believed to be old enough to have witnessed Jesus at prayer. Jerusalem

Golan Heights: Prehistoric dolmens (table-like monuments) and Stone Age structures can be found on this volcanic plateau. It is also the source of new Israeli vineyards whose wines are considered among the country's finest. Farther north lies historic Banias National Park. The North Golden Gate: Sealed in 1540, this gave direct access to the Temple Mount through Jerusalem's eastern wall. This is the gate through which, Christians say, Jesus rode on a donkey on the first Palm Sunday. Jews believe the Messiah will enter Jerusalem through this gate.

Jerusalem

Ha'aretz Israel Museum: This multifaceted institution, housed in a campus-like museum, traces the development of regional crafts, trades, coins, pottery and the 3,000-year history of glassmaking. Tel Aviv

Haifa: Israel's main port city offers many attractions, including museums, universities, parks and access to some of Israel's best beaches. Mediterranean Coast

Herzliya: Named for Theodor Herzl, founder of Zionism, Herzliya was established in 1924 as an agricultural center. Cafes, bars, hotels and restaurants line the sea front along Basel Street and Shalit Square. North of Tel Aviv

Israel Museum: Permanent exhibits include archeological finds, Jewish costumes, Hanukkah and Sabbath lamps, "old masters," modern art and the Shrine of the Book, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Jerusalem

Jaffa: One of the oldest cities in the world, with the oldest working harbor. Highlights include antiquities, the flea market and the Ilana Goor Museum--originally an 18th-century pilgrim's hostel and now home to extravagant sculpture, jewelry and interior design. Tel Aviv

Jericho: Joshua led the Israelites to victory here--the walls came tumbling down. Though Joshua then cursed the city and anyone who would rebuild it, Jericho was rebuilt anyway. A millennium later, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan, just east of the city. Northeast of Jerusalem, under Palestinian administration

Kibbutzim: These rural communities recall the Israeli pioneer spirit of hard work and cooperation. Many are in resort areas and operate comfortable hotels for tourists. Visitors can also volunteer to work on a kibbutz. Throughout Israel

The Knesset (Parliament): The reception hall features tapestries by Marc Chagall, while a giant menorah outside the building depicts significant events in Jewish history. Jerusalem

Lazarus' Tomb: Located at a cavern in Bethany where, according to John XI, Jesus wept and called "Lazarus, come forth"--and he did. East of Jerusalem

Lod (Lydda): The small town where St. Paul miraculously healed a bedridden man, according to Acts of the Apostles. It is also the birthplace of St. George. Southeast of Tel Aviv

Masada: At the summit of this isolated mountaintop fortress, visitors may view the many remains associated with King Herod the Great, builder of the fortress, including a palace with its pools and baths. It was at Masada where Jewish zealots committed mass suicide, rather than become slaves to the Romans. Dead Sea

Migdal: Believed to be the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, from whom Jesus drove out seven devils. Galilee, northwest of Tiberias

Mitzpe Ramon: The multi-hued Ramon Crater, arguably the world's largest crater, is adjacent to this desert town. The South

Mount Herzl: The burial site of Theodor Herzl, who helped inspire the Zionist movement, is Israel's "Arlington Cemetery," and is the final resting place of Prime Ministers Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin. Jerusalem

Mount of Olives: Judaism's most holy cemetery, because those buried here will be the first resurrected by the Messiah. Christians regard this as the site of Jesus' ascension into Heaven. Jerusalem

Mount Scopus: A strategic observation point since antiquity, and home of the Hebrew University, it offers modern-day visitors superb panoramic views of Jerusalem and the Judean Desert. Jerusalem

Mount Tabor: The Basilica of the Transformation here was built upon two earlier churches (from sixth and 12th centuries), on the site where Jesus was transfigured--"his face did shine as the sun"--before Peter, James and his brother John. Mount Tabor

Mount Zion: Site of Jesus' Last Supper, the Abbey of the Dormition (where Mary "fell into eternal rest") and King David's tomb. Jerusalem

Nahariya: A quiet seaside resort near Achziv, the grottoes at Rosh Hanikra and Montfort Crusader Castle. Jewish refugees from Germany founded the town in 1934. The North Coast

Nazareth: The city where Jesus spent most of his life. Chief attractions are the Basilica of the Annunciation, Mary's Well and the "Synagogue Church." Galilee

Negev: Visitors may be surprised to find agricultural communities and kibbutzim flourishing in this desert region that makes up 60 percent of Israel's land mass. The South

Paternoster Church: Belonging to the Carmelite nuns, the church is believed to be on the site where Jesus taught followers the Lord's Prayer. Jerusalem

Old City of Jerusalem: A walled square mile, divided into four distinct historic quarters--Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian, is home to 20,000 residents. Ramparts walk, an ancient walk way, offers a panoramic view of the Old City. In the Cardo, Jerusalem's main thoroughfare in the sixth century, excavations reveal remnants of Israelite walls and Byzantine and Crusader structures. The Souk, comprised of hundreds of market stalls, lines the narrow streets and alleys of the Old City. Jerusalem

Qumran: The site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found includes ruins of a ritual bath, a potter's workshop, kitchen, assembly and drinking halls, laundry and water systems, a stable, and a cemetery with 1,200 graves. Dead Sea

Rehovot: Home of the Weizmann Institute, named for Israel's first president; and Rishon Le Zion, a Jewish settlement dating to 1882, where visitors can tour the Rothschilds' winery. Near Tel Aviv

Safed: Perched atop the Galilee mountains, this holy city, associated with Jewish mysticism, is now home to an Artists' Colony, an array of historic synagogues and the Safed Candles Factory. Galilee

Sea of Galilee: Provides Israel with most of its flesh-water supply (the "sea" is really a large lake) and is home to more than 20 species of fish. Many well-appointed hotels line the lake. Scuba diving and other watersports options are available. Galilee

Sheinkin Street: Trendy restaurants--as well as chic international and local handicraft shops--attract both residents and tourists to this lively street, day and night. Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv: Established as a suburb of Jaffa in 1909, Tel Aviv today is Israel's largest city--a bustling metropolis and a vibrant center of entertainment, culture and big business. Mediterranean Coast

Tel Aviv Museum of Art: Exhibits the best of Israeli art, classical paintings, Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, 20th-century masters and more than 20,000 prints and drawings. Tel Aviv

Temple Mount: A vast and elegant compound marks the sites of the two destroyed Temples. Today it houses the 7th-century Dome of the Rock and the Al Aksa Mosque, the world's third holiest site for Muslims. Jerusalem

Tiberias: A modern resort town that was once the second largest spa in the Roman Empire, Tiberias is a good base for excursions to the Golan and the entire Galilee. The North

The Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem: A fascinating museum that recounts Jerusalem's 3,000-year history within its ancient walls. Jerusalem

Via Dolorosa (The Way of Sorrow): The route Jesus took to the crucifixion. Nine "Stations of the Cross" lead to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in which the last five are found. Jerusalem

The Western Wall: This remnant of the outer wall of the Second Temple's courtyard has drawn Jews from all over the world for centuries to pray and mourn as well as to tuck written pleas and prayers into its crevices. Jerusalem

The Western Wall Tunnel: A 2,000-year-old network of caverns and passageways runs parallel to the Western Wall and reveals valuable insight into where the First and Second Temples stood. Jerusalem

Yad Vashem: On this scenic hill is found the Memorial to Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust, the Central Archives of the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance, the Avenue of Righteous Gentiles and the Valley of the Destroyed Communities. Jerusalem

Yigal Allon Museum of Man in the Galilee: Site of an ancient (2,000 years old) fishing boat of the type that would have been used by Jesus and his disciples on the Sea of Galilee. Ginnosar Kibbutz, southwest of Capernaum

MILLENNIUM MARKER

TABGHA--Multiplying the Loaves and Fishes

"... And when [Jesus] had taken the five loaves and the two fishes ... And they did all eat, and were filled ... they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men ..."

--Mark 6:41-44

DEAD SEA--Sodom and Gomorrah

"Abraham dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched [his tent toward Sodo."

--Genesis 13:12

NAZARETH--Preaching of Jesus in the Synagogue

"... The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty to them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

--Luke 4:18, 19


©Copyright 1999, Universal Media, (Travel Agent)

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