Tag - Israel

Best History and Culture Vacations

    Bus for rental

Bus for rental

If you want to go out for a vacation to visit historical places this time then here is a list of top places/cities which are known for their culture and history.

Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem city is among the oldest cities of the world and it has culture and history related to Jerusalem’s religious beliefs. This is capital city of Israel and must visits places are Wailing Wall, Dolorosa, Dome of the Rock and Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

 Boston, United States

Boston city is also known as ‘The Athens of America” and it is one of the important places in American history. Other than New York City it is the only place in United States known for history and culture. The most popular places you must visit are Fenway Park, Boston Public Library, USS Constitution, the Kennedy Library and the Faneuil Hall.

Hong Kong, China

At this city in China you will see a combination of old tradition and history with modern traditions. It is a place with this kind of rarest combination. The main attractions in the city are Peak Tower, Man Mo temple, Hong Kong Museum of History and Po Lin Monastery with largest outdoor bronze Buddha.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This is one of the best cities in the Netherlands with old rich history. Every visitor visits the Anne Frank House. Other historical places in the city are Royal Palace, Dam Square, the world class Rijksmuseum and the chilling story of Anne Frank House.

Prague, Czech Republic

If you want to visit a place with streets full of historical architecture then Prague is the best place for that. You will find the Gothic and Medieval period history here in the city. The main attractions are Prague Castle, Saint George’s Basilica, Old Town Hall, Prague City Museum and the Wenceslas Square.

Washington DC, United States

If you love the political history and want to visit such place this vacation then Washington DC is the best city to visit. This city is full of debate, democracy, politics, scandals and such history. The main attractions in the city are the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Capitol Hill, Washington Monument and the Smithsonian Institution. This is one of the most political cities in the world.

Florence, Italy

Florence has lots of Roman’s history and this city is full of art galleries and historical structures that are still able to survive. You will love the culture of the city and the main attractions in the city are Florentine Church, Renaissance art work and the Duomo. If you are an artist then this is the right place for you.

Montreal, Canada

This place was a village and after the 1535 it has emerged as a big city in the Canada. The history of its development from village to a city is the main attraction to watch. Other attractions are Notre-Dame Basilica, Botanical Gardens and Parisian style streets.

Berlin, Germany

The Berlin city in Germany has been changed a lot in the last 50 years which is now the part of history. This city is among the world’s most interesting cities and the main attractions are Berlin Wall, Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandeburg Gate and the Reichstag.

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O Little Town of Bethlehem

Located in one of the holiest places in Christendom, Bethlehem has been the centerpiece of pilgrimages and Christmas stories throughout the ages. It has also uncomfortably found itself in the cross-hairs of conflict during its long history. Perhaps overshadowed by the grandeur of its neighbor, Jerusalem, and the presence it holds in the Holy Land, Bethlehem certainly deserves a visit nonetheless. Whether during the Advent celebrations or in the middle of summer, Bethlehem is a highlight when visiting the West Bank.

Bethlehem, Israel

Bethlehem, Israel

 Away in a Manger

From Al-Cinema Square, it is an easy walk up Pope Paul VI Street to Manger Square. The narrow street leads visitors past the Lutheran Christmas Church, St. Mary’s Syrian Orthodox Church, then down a series of steps towards the minaret of the 19th century Mosque of Omar, whose crescent moon punctuates the skyline of crosses and stars in the old city.

Manger Square

Manger Square

Synonymous with yuletide greeting cards, Manger Square is Bethlehem’s center stage and a bustling location with a flurry of tourists who flock in each day. There are a scattering of souvenir shops, restaurants and taxi drivers, who offer transportation at negotiable prices to various West Bank locations, such as Hebron and Ramallah.

Prior to entering the Church of the Nativity, it is further worthwhile to take a quick peek inside the square’s Peace Center. An exhibition of every size, color and interpretation of the iconic nativity scene are on display from around the world in gallery room two.

Star Marks the Spot

It’s best to mind one’s head before passing through the aptly named Door of Humility at the Church of the Nativity, where the Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Catholic clergy meticulously administer their every allotted square meter. Following the Crusaders’ idea to alter the door’s original size, so as to hinder any would-be attackers who had thought about charging in on horseback, the entrance to the Church’s non-descript  façade from the Ottoman era became even smaller. Look closely to see the faint lines of the first 6th century door and Crusader arch design.

Discovered in 1934, the exquisite 4th century mosaic flooring inside is remnant of the Church’s earliest construction in 326 AD, whereas the limestone columns date to the structure’s rebuilding in the 6th century. The highlight of the Church is, of course, the Grotto of the Nativity. Just off to the right of the ornate altar with its string of looming lanterns and chandeliers overhead (six belong to the Greek Orthodox, five to the Armenians and four to the Catholics), steps lead down to where a replica of the original 14-pointed star marks the spot. At one side, the Chapel of the Manger exhibits the Nativity, while the Altar of the Adoration pays tribute to the Three Wise Men. Small and slightly claustrophobic, it is best to visit the Grotto before or after a tour group.

Christmas Tidings

Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria

Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria

Adjacent to the Church of the Nativity is the Franciscan Church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Although expansion took place in 1882, records show the Church’s first existence in the 15th century. The location also supports the ruins of a 5th century monastery affiliated with St. Jerome, a statue of whom stands in the cloister. Moreover, it is from the altar under this vaulted ceiling that the Church broadcasts its yearly Christmas Eve Mass to the world.

This is one of the many numerous celebrations that occur in Bethlehem among the various Christian denominations during this holy time. Services and processions alike take place not only in the Church of the Nativity, St. Catherine’s and Manager Square on December 25th, but also on the respective dates of January 5th , 6th and 18th. There are also services on Christmas Eve in Shephard’s Field, which is east of Bethlehem in Beit Sahour.

Visitors, of course, can visit the Church of the Nativity and Saint Catherine’s on their own, but for those who are in search of a personal tour, private guides are also available for hire in Manger Square.

Traveling to Bethlehem

Transportation by bus from Jerusalem to Bethlehem is an inexpensive and easy way for the independent traveler. Arab bus 21, which departs from the bus station across from the dizzying array of activity of Damascus Gate on Süleyman Street , runs frequent service to and from the West Bank. At 6.00 NIS (New Israeli Shekel) one-way, it is an approximate 40-minute ride with various stops along the route. Be aware that other buses will offer their transportation services to Bethlehem, as well, but will want to charge an extra and unnecessary fee for passing through a checkpoint. Upon arriving in Bethlehem, the bus drops passengers off at the last stop near al Cinema Square.

At the end of one’s visit, bus 21 picks up passengers along the main road in front of the olive tree grove, which is downhill from the square. There isn’t a bus stop sign per se, but it’s clear that it’s the place to be.  It is also absolutely imperative to bring a passport for this trip, as there is an Israeli checkpoint to pass through when returning to Jerusalem.

Bethlehem is not only a place for the faithful, but it also makes for a worthwhile journey to the West Bank.

the West Bank

the West Bank