In the Old City of Jerusalem we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is built on the traditional site of Golgotha and the place where Jesus was buried.
Another stop on Monday was the Church of St. Anne which is a Crusader church built on the traditional site of Mary’s birthplace, which is located in a cave below the basilica. The church is also known for remarkable acoustics.
Next to the church is the excavation area of the Pools of Bethesda, where Jesus healed a man (John 5:2-9).
Sunday was a busy day as we left Jericho and drove further into the wilderness of Judea to the shores of the Dead Sea. There we explored the ruins of Qumran, the Essene monastery where the Dead Sea Scrolls were collected and written.
The Essenes hid their scrolls in the nearby caves, anticipating an attack by Roman forces during the First Jewish Roman War.
On Saturday we also visited the likely site of the House of Caiaphas and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu built in top.
Caiaphas’ house contains a prison where Jesus would have been held when brought before the high priest after his arrest in the garden.
This picture is taken from the bottom of the cell that likely held Jesus, looking up through the hole in the ceiling.
This statue outside the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu strikingly portrays the denial of Peter.
Jesus may have walked these steps leading to Caiaphas’ house.
On Saturday, May 18, we visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
The entrance to the church requires you to stoop down before entering.
The interior of the church.
Underneath the altar of the church is a cave which holds the traditional site of the nativity marked by a star that you can bend down and touch.