Thread: The Land called Holy - advice for pilgrims? Board: Oblivion / Ship of Fools.

To visit this thread, use this URL:;f=70;t=028978

Posted by Qoheleth. (# 9265) on :
I'm going on an organised pilgrimage/visit of the Holy Land in September - but with some free time. Any sage advice from Shipmates who have trodden this way before would be welcome: practical or theological.

[I suggest that we try to avoid tangents about the messy politics, except where directly relevant to the pilgrim]

Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
Depends where you're going - are you based around Jerusalem or are you travelling throughout Israel.

First: I'd stop thinking of it as 'The Holy Land' but rather as visiting Israel, which is a newish, modern country.

If you're venturing widely and have free time as appropriate, look at some of the Roman sites which may not be on your itinerary - Caesarea is amazing. If you get a chance to cross the border into Jordan, Jerash is also one of the top 10 Roman sites in the world.

Back in Israel, Acre has some fascinating places, and in Haifa there is the Baha'i temple.
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
The Holy Sepulchre is a must, even if you have to queue. see here

The Garden Tomb is romantic fantasy world but some find it 'moving'.

Go for a boat ride across the Galilee, staring in Tiberias.

Don't let an Israeli tour guide steer you awat from buying souvenirs from the Palestinians who keep ther holy sites open fopr us and need the trade.

See the holoaust memorial at Yad Vashem.

Do some homework. and meet some 'living stones'.

[ 07. July 2015, 15:20: Message edited by: leo ]
Posted by Cottontail (# 12234) on :
I second most of what Leo said, especially the boat trip across the Sea of Galilee and Yad Vashem. (Arrange for a quiet evening after Yad Vashem. It is so utterly devastating that you will need some recovery time.)

Re. the Church of the Holy Sepulchre: if you can, wander along there for 11.15pm on a Saturday night. There will be crowds waiting outside for the gates to open and the Christian Sabbath to begin at midnight. Then join the queue which will lead you to the tomb itself, crawl in past the terrifying priests, and spend your precious 30 seconds contemplating the resting place of the body of Christ. Then hang around as long as you want afterwards for the celebration of the mass, and absorb the ancient and holy atmosphere.

Try to get to Masada. You can walk up there or take a cable car, and it has an eerie power. You will also come away with an insight into the utter madness of Herod the Great.

And for something totally different, spend some time in Jaffa. It is a bit of an artists' colony these days, and is quite lovely.
Posted by Margaret (# 283) on :
Have a wonderful time! We're going in October, and as I haven't been for nearly twenty years I'm wondering what I shall find this time. I'd second what everyone else says and add talk to people (not difficult because this is a part of the world where people are much better at talking to strangers than the British) - talk to Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians, and get some idea of how rich and complex this place is, how horrible life can be here and also how hopeful.
Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
One place I rather like in Israel is Haifa. I'm not sure if it is a touristic highlight (although I rather like Mount Carmel), but I really like the atmosphere of this city. It's rather open; people told me that it's the only place where a Jew and a Palestinian can walk together over the beach and no-one will bat an eyelid. That may be an exaggeration, but it does say something about the atmosphere of the city.
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
There's a lovely view over the Bahai temple from the site where, it is claimed, Elijah took on the prophets of Ba'al.
Posted by Qoheleth. (# 9265) on :
Thanks for the advice, folks.

Posted by LeRoc (# 3216) on :
leo: There's a lovely view over the Bahai temple from the site where, it is claimed, Elijah took on the prophets of Ba'al.
Yes I saw that. I liked it.
Posted by Taliesin (# 14017) on :
Bethlehem is lovely. As Leo said, do take the time to visit the shops in manger square, and the peace centre.

© Ship of Fools 2016

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.5.0