- Aug 03, 2023
- Donny Arkush
Soak in centuries of faith and resilience and become part of the story! Schedule your visit to the Western Wall with Tradition Tours now!
When you're in Jerusalem, visiting the Western Wall is an absolute must-do. It holds immense historical and religious significance for the Jewish community. This sacred site in the Old City has seen it all, and it's a symbol of unwavering faith and resilience. From its humble beginnings to its restoration as a bustling place of worship, the Western Wall is a powerful symbol of hope and devotion.
Let's take a closer look at its fascinating journey through time. First off, after the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, they left this one outer wall standing, thinking it wasn't a big deal since it was just a retaining wall around the Temple Mount. But boy, were they wrong! Fast forward to the 16th century, Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent steps in as ruler. He restores Jerusalem's city walls in 1536 and invited expelled Jews from Spain and Portugal to come live in Jerusalem and pray at the remaining wall.
In 1546 an earthquake shook up the area and caused damage. Suleyman decided to clear the rubble of houses near the Western Wall to create a prayer site for the Jews. He even issued a special firman decree, giving Jews the right to pray at the Western Wall site. That decree lasted over 400 years, making this spot the second holiest place for Jews and a must-visit pilgrimage site.
Sultan Selim I during his rule, (the father of Suleyman The Magnificent,) cleaned up the Western Wall area, which had been used as a garbage dump for hundreds of years. By planting gold coins in the garbage and then spreading rumors that treasure was hidden there; the garbage was gone within a month, dug out by treasure hunters, and the wall was returned to some of its former glory. This is why the gate closest to the Western wall is called The Dung Gate.
Throughout history, Jews worldwide traveled on pilgrimages to Jerusalem, their hearts filled with gratitude and reverence. Their first destination was the Kotel ha-Ma'aravi, commonly known as the Western Wall, where heartfelt prayers were offered in thanksgiving to God. Over time, non-Jews began referring to the site as the "Wailing Wall" due to the profound emotions expressed during these prayerful moments. However, traditional Jews did not adopt this undignified name and instead used the Hebrew term "Kotel."
After the British left the area, the Jordanians controlled the Old City of Jerusalem and the western wall for nineteen years. Despite an armistice agreement guaranteeing Jewish access, not a single Israeli Jew was permitted to visit during this period. However, everything changed during the Six-Day War in 1967. Israeli paratroopers recaptured the Old City and took control of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. The area was later cleared, creating today's expansive plaza.
The Western Wall has become a symbol of Jewish heritage and unity. Thousands of worshippers gather at the Kotel on Friday evenings, Jewish holidays, and especially on Tisha B'Av, a fast commemorating the Temple's destruction over 2000 years ago. It serves as a venue for national ceremonies and a testament to the connection between the Jewish people and their historic homeland. The age-old custom of placing written prayers into the crevices of the Wall continues, demonstrating the unyielding devotion of the faithful.
So, when standing before the Western Wall, take a moment to soak in its history. It's a place that has witnessed so much faith and resilience over the years. Just imagine the thousands of people who've made the same pilgrimage as you, connecting with their sacred heritage and leaving a piece of their hearts at this incredible site. It's an experience you won't want to miss!
Want to learn more? Contact us today and begin planning your tour to Israel with Tradition Tours.
Call us at Tradition Tours to talk about your Holy Land tour.CALL US : +1 855 958 6877
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Donny Arkush is the President and Co-Founder of Tradition Tours. Donny has more than 19 years of experience in the travel industry. He’s driven by a desire to ensure that every single Tradition Tour traveler has the best Holy Land experience possible. To get regular emails from Donny, click here.
King Herod, An Adventure Through Time
Fellow history enthusiasts and time-travel aficionados! Buckle up for an extraordinary expedition that transcends the confines of our era, allowing us to traverse the captivating legacy of one of antiquity's most intriguing figures: King Herod the Great. At Tradition Tours, we're thrilled to accompany you on this enthralling exploration of King Herod's indelible mark on the Holy Land.
Meet King Herod: A Glimpse into an Era Past
Before we plunge into this extraordinary escapade, let's transport ourselves back in time and acquaint ourselves with the visionary behind these awe-inspiring architectural wonders—King Herod. Born in 73 BCE, Herod emerged as a commanding figure, ascending to the throne of Judea under the watchful gaze of the Roman Empire. However, he was no ordinary ruler. Herod's reign was characterized not only by his mastery of architecture but also by his astute and at times ruthless political strategies.
Beyond his architectural genius, King Herod was a cunning political strategist, deftly navigating a web of complex relations and alliances. His name became intertwined with legendary figures like Cleopatra and Caesar Augustus, showcasing the breadth of his influence on the political stage of his time. Amidst a backdrop of political tumult and intricate family dynamics, Herod conceived ambitious projects that would redefine ancient Israel's essence and appearance. In this vibrant yet tumultuous context, the foundations of his grand architectural legacy were laid, etching his name into the annals of history.
Herodium: A Majestic Blend of Opulence and Legacy
Our adventure commences at Herodium, a breathtaking fortress-palace that stands as a testament to King Herod's architectural prowess. Nestled southeast of Jerusalem, this remarkable structure sits atop a cone-shaped hill, offering an awe-inspiring panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. It was within these very walls that King Herod reveled in opulence, hosting extravagant feasts and lavish spectacles. Intriguingly, this was also the chosen location for his eternal rest. Recent archaeological endeavors have unveiled the grandeur of his tomb. As we wander amidst the ruins of this magnificent complex, we can almost hear the echoes of a bygone era, resonating with the splendor and enigma that once filled these halls.
The Western Wall: A Testament to Timeless Devotion
Our journey then takes us to Jerusalem, the heart of King Herod's religious and political endeavors. Here, we pay homage to the Western Wall, an iconic symbol revered by Jews around the world. This monumental structure is a fragment of the retaining wall that King Herod constructed to support and expand the Second Temple—the spiritual epicenter of ancient Israel. Despite the temple's eventual fall at the hands of the Romans in 70 CE, the Western Wall endured, becoming a symbol of faith and a sacred site for prayers and contemplation. In the presence of this ancient edifice, one can almost tangibly feel the spiritual energy, connecting us to an ancient past.
Masada: A Fortress of Valor and Defiance
Our odyssey culminates at Masada, a majestic desert fortress that stands as yet another testament to King Herod's architectural brilliance. Initially conceived as a refuge, Masada boasted palaces, storerooms, baths, and lush gardens. However, it's the legendary tale of the Jewish-Roman War that truly defines its historical significance. Picture this: a group of Jewish rebels, defiantly standing their ground against a relentless Roman siege, choosing to embrace mortality over enslavement. Masada stands as a testament to resilience and courage, reflecting not only King Herod's visionary architecture but also the indomitable spirit of humanity.
King Herod's Timeless Legacy: An Enduring Imprint
As we conclude our expedition through Israel, we stand in awe of the legacy of King Herod the Great. His architectural marvels and the tumultuous events that unfolded during his reign have etched themselves into the annals of this region's history and culture. An enigmatic figure of controversy and influence, Herod's stories continue to captivate and mystify, allowing us a glimpse into a past filled with complexity and intrigue. With Tradition Tours, this isn't merely a tour of ancient sites; it's an immersive journey through history, bringing us face-to-face with one of the most captivating figures of antiquity.
Join Us for an Unforgettable Historical Odyssey!
History buffs, culture enthusiasts, and architecture aficionados, unite! Israel beckons, offering a treasure trove of experiences for all. Tradition Tours pledges an immersive and tailored adventure that will deepen your understanding and appreciation of this ancient land. Whether you yearn to unravel King Herod's legacy or explore the diverse facets of Israel's rich heritage, we stand ready to craft an unforgettable journey. Contact us today, and let's transform your dream historical escapade in Israel into a vibrant and exhilarating reality! 🏰⏳
Qumran: The Place Where John the Baptist Got His Inspiration
Discover where John The Baptist was inspired to babtize people preparing for the coming of Jesus!
Are you eager to deepen your understanding of Christian heritage through an extraordinary travel experience? Qumran offers precisely that—a unique exploration that delves into the origins of baptism, the life of John the Baptist, and the ancient Jewish community that penned some of the oldest copies of the Bible. This historical and spiritual landmark is a cornerstone of our Christian Tradition Tours.
Qumran is a place full of mystery and wonder. It was discovered in 1947 when a young shepherd boy found some old jars in a cave near the Dead Sea. Inside the jars were some scrolls that turned out to be very valuable and important. They were the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient manuscripts that contain parts of the Old Testament, and other religious writings that tell us about a Jewish sect that lived there from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD.
Who were these people? They were called the Essenes and were very serious about their faith. They left the corrupt society of their time and moved to the desert, where they devoted themselves to God and his law. They believed that they were living in the last days and that God would soon send a messiah to save his people and judge his enemies. They also believed they had to prepare for this by cleansing themselves from sin and impurity.
How did they do this? They used water a lot. They built pools and canals to collect rainwater and bring it to their settlement. They also used the Jordan River, which was close by. They washed themselves in water several times a day before eating, praying, or reading the scriptures.
This is where John the Baptist comes in. John was a cousin of Jesus and a prophet who announced that the messiah was coming soon. He also baptized people in water, but for a different reason. He told people to turn away from their sins and to receive God’s forgiveness.
John may have known about the Essenes and their ways. He may have even stayed with them for a while, as some experts think. He may have learned from them how water can be a sign of washing and renewal. But he also went further than them by saying that water baptism was not enough. He said that another baptism was stronger and better: the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
So, when you visit Qumran, you can see for yourself where John the Baptist got his inspiration. You can also see how he used that inspiration to spread the good news of Jesus to everyone who would listen.
Qumran is among the many unique places you can see with Tradition Tours. You can learn more about Israel’s history by joining one of our Tradition Tours. We have different plans that fit your needs and wants and great guides who will make your trip extraordinary. If you wish to follow Jesus’ footsteps, see where David fought Goliath, or admire the beauty of Jerusalem, we have something for you.
Beyond Time and Tales in The Holy Land
Step into the Past: Unveiling the Biblical and Roman Marvels of Beit She'an, Israel, with Tradition Tours (also known as Beth Shean).
If you're all set to embark on an awe-inspiring journey through the Holy Land, Israel, with Tradition Tours, then buckle up because we're about to transport you back in time to a place that's straight out of the pages of the bible– Beit She'an. This incredible site in Israel isn't just a stop on your tour; it's a living testament to a world where stories from the Bible intertwine with the grandeur of Roman civilization, all set against a backdrop of breathtaking archaeological wonders.
Time-Traveling Through Legends Imagine this: walking in the very footsteps of biblical figures and Roman citizens along the same streets that bore witness to history unfolding. Beit She'an, located just 20 miles south of the Sea of Galilee, and not far from Nazareth, a unique crossroads where Christian and Jewish narratives converge.
Let's dive into a chapter that vividly depicts Beit She'an's historical significance. In the annals of history, this place witnessed a legendary showdown between the Israelites and the Philistines. It's the kind of epic story that ignites our imagination – a battle led by Saul, the first king of Israel, against the mighty Philistines. Despite Saul's valiant efforts, the outcome was different from what he'd hoped for. The Philistines claimed victory, and the walls of Beit She'an bore witness to this triumph, with the King’s body hung there as a chilling reminder (I Samuel. 31:10).
Roman Ruins: A Glimpse into Grandeur But Beit She'an isn't just a haven for biblical history; it's also home to awe-inspiring Roman ruins. As you explore, you'll find yourself amidst grand columns, intricate mosaics, the remains of the bathhouse, and the amphitheater that once echoed with the cheers of the crowd. These Roman remnants offer a fascinating window into the opulence and architectural brilliance of the past.
As you stroll through Beit She'an's sprawling ruins with Tradition Tours, it's almost as if time folds in on itself. The palpable energy of the place, combined with the remarkable preservation of its artifacts, makes for an experience that transcends the present. Every mosaic, every pillar, every stone carries a story waiting to be uncovered.
Tradition Tours: Your gateway to history. So, here's the deal: Beit She'an isn't just a location; it's an immersion into the past, where the echoes of bygone eras resonate with the present. Tradition Tours is your passport to unlocking this captivating tale, where the worlds of the Bible and the Romans converge in an astonishing display of human history.
As you explore Beit She'an, reflect on the resilience of Saul, the power of the Philistines, and the grandeur of Roman civilization. Tradition Tours enables you to dive deep into these narratives, bringing them to life with each step you take.
Prepare for an unforgettable adventure with Tradition Tours as you journey through Israel's treasures. Beit She'an is ready to welcome you, and the tales of the past are poised to come alive in ways you've never imagined.
Unveiling Ancient Drama at Ein Gedi
When you embark on a remarkable journey through the Holy Land with Tradition Tours, then there's an ancient tale waiting for you at Ein Gedi that's bound to captivate your imagination. This stunning oasis tucked away in Israel near the Dead Sea and Qumran is not only a feast for the eyes but also a place steeped in biblical history. So, grab your sandals, and let's dive into the story of King Saul and David amidst the breathtaking beauty of Ein Gedi (translated to the spring of the goat).
The Biblical Drama Unfolds In the sun-kissed land of Israel, a dramatic saga involving kings and destiny took center stage. Our main characters? King Saul and the young shepherd boy who would later become the celebrated King David. This tale plays out against the mesmerizing backdrop of Ein Gedi – an oasis that has witnessed centuries of history.
Picture this: lush vegetation, crystal-clear springs, and serene waterfalls, all amidst the rugged desert terrain. It's a sight that almost feels like a mirage, and yet, it's very real. And this is where our story begins.
A Refreshing Encounter The story goes that while King Saul was in pursuit of David, his potential successor, he stumbled upon Ein Gedi. After a relentless chase, Saul decided to take a break in the very caves that dot the landscape. It's said that as he rested, he was completely unaware that David was lurking in the same cave, only a stone's throw away. It was here that David famously spared Saul's life, revealing his mercy and respect for the anointed king by only cutting the corner of his coat. (1 Samuel 23: 24)
Exploring Ein Gedi Today Fast forward to today, and Ein Gedi continues to cast its spell on visitors from around the world. Tradition Tours gives you a chance to immerse yourself in this ancient oasis, where you can experience the very caves that played witness to that intense encounter between King Saul and David. Imagine tracing their footsteps, pondering over the historic events that transpired within these rocky walls. It's a thrilling connection to the past that few places can offer.
A Blend of Beauty and Spirituality Ein Gedi isn't just about history – it's a haven for nature lovers as well. The juxtaposition of life against the backdrop of the desert is awe-inspiring. The springs and waterfalls invite you to take a refreshing dip, creating a unique harmony between the harshness of the surrounding desert and the abundant life within the oasis.
Join Tradition Tours for an Unforgettable Journey So, whether you're a history buff or simply someone who loves to experience the blend of spirituality and nature, Ein Gedi is a must-visit spot in the Holy Land. Tradition Tours offers you the chance to explore this biblical gem, to step into the very places where history unfolded.
As you wrap up your journey through Ein Gedi, take a moment to reflect on the encounter between King Saul and David – an event that reminds us of the complexities of human nature, mercy, and destiny. And remember, it's not just about the destination but the stories that breathe life into the places we explore.
So, pack your bags and get ready for an adventure with Tradition Tours as you uncover the hidden tales and treasures of the Holy Land. Ein Gedi awaits, with its caves and springs echoing the whispers of a time long past.