For most of us growing up, the Bible has been a story. A book filled with fascinating tales, inspirational passages and far-off destinations we could only imagine in our dreams. Those dreams can become reality with Regina Tours, a company that specializes in pilgrimages to religious sites around the world. The tours are designed for spiritual growth, renewal, healing and sharing of faith with others.
If your religious group is eager to experience locations in the Bible, consider Regina’s Holy Land itineraries, a place so inspirational that the last three popes have visited. Here are just a few of the places included in tours of Israel:
Sea of Galilee
Also known as the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee is Israel’s largest freshwater reservoir and has become a pilgrimage site for many Christians. According to Scripture, Jesus lived, preached and performed miracles in the Kinneret and the surrounding region. This was where Jesus walked on water, and the miracle of the loaves and the fishes happened in a nearby city. The natural beauty of the Galilee Mountains and the foothills of Golan appeal to outdoor enthusiasts.
Located in the Northern District of Israel, Nazareth is referenced in the New Testament as the childhood home of Jesus. A magnet for Christian pilgrims, the city holds many shrines commemorating biblical events. Religious groups can visit sites like the Church of the Annunciation, the largest Catholic Church in the Middle East, and St. Joseph’s Church, which marks the traditional location of Saint Joseph’s workshop. The Jesus Trail connects many of the religious sites in Nazareth.
Bethlehem is one of the most important cities mentioned in the Bible. In the Hebrew Bible, the city was identified as the city David was from and where he was crowned the King of Israel. In the New Testament, Bethlehem is said to be the birthplace of Jesus, providing a connection to the lineage of King David. The Church of the Nativity is a basilica built over the cave that marks the birthplace of Jesus. The church is a World Heritage Site and holds significant importance for both Christians and Muslims.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Also known as the Church of the Resurrection, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is located within the Christian quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Created in the fourth century, the church has been a major pilgrimage destination for people of all denominations. It is said that the church contains two of the holiest sites in Christendom. This is where Jesus was said to be crucified, as well as the location of Jesus’ empty tomb, where he was buried and resurrected. Within the church are the last four stations of the Via Dolorosa, representing the last stages of the Passion.
Mount Zion is a hill just outside the Old City of Jerusalem and has been referenced in the Bible as being part of the City of David. Some of the most important sites on Mount Zion are King David’s Tomb and the Room of the Last Supper, also known as the Cenacle. This room was not only the location of the Last Supper, but of many other events described in the New Testament, such as the preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ first Passover meal, the washing of his disciples’ feet and the gathering of the disciples after the Ascension of Jesus.
Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the Qumran caves along the shore of the Dead Sea, and the remains of these scrolls have been called the greatest manuscript discovery of modern times. The texts are of great religious significance because they include some of the oldest known surviving manuscripts of works later included in the Old Testament, along with non-biblical writings. The scrolls are housed in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Visitors to the Qumran ruins can watch a presentation about the scrolls and the settlement, and view the aqueducts, cisterns, reservoirs, tower and scriptorium. If your group is up for it, the Qumran region is also a popular place for canyoning and rappelling.
Mukhraka, the location of Elijah’s Altar
One Bible story tell of the time when Elijah faced off against the prophets of Baal and God sent down fire from Heaven. This took place on Mount Carmel, at Mukhraka, which means “burned place.” It is here where the story unfolds for spiritual groups. The limestone outcroppings are singed black from the fire that consumed Elijah’s offerings. To the west is the Mediterranean, where Elijah’s servant saw the cloud that signaled God’s renewed blessing. Visitors can also see the Kishon Brook, where Baal’s prophets met their end.
These and other locations in the Holy Land will elicit deep emotions from members of your religious group and will connect them to the book that has defined their faith. Regina Tours can bring Bible stories to life.