Basilica of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor, Galilee, Holy Land, Israel

The Basilica of the Transfiguration is a Franciscan basilica on Mount Tabor in Galilee in the Holy Land, Israel. It was built with an orientation to the east in 1924 by the Franciscans who had the field since their installation in 1631, where Christian tradition says there was the event of the Transfiguration of Christ alongside Moses and the prophet Elijah, in favor of Pierre, Jacques and Jean. The Basilica is on the ruins of another Christian church that was built between the fourth century and the sixth century but also another church built in the twelfth century by the Crusaders. There is also a Franciscan monastery that was erected with the basilica. In the proximities of this basilica, there are another Greek Orthodox church that was built by evoking the same event of the Transfiguration. The road route for the transportation of materials needed for construction, is used today by pilgrims visiting the basilica. The entrance to the site is by the door of the Wind or Bab el-Hawa, old vestige of the Muslim fortress of the thirteenth century. The sanctuary has three new, large arc between the two towers in its facade and bronze doors. The nave is separated by the side of the vault arches and overlooks a staircase carved into the rock that goes down to the crypt. The scene of the Transfiguration is represented at the bottom in the choir. You can also see the remains of the previous masonry on the walls.

Tips

From the top of the mount, you might enjoy a magnificent view of cultivated fields of the plain of Esdraelon.

Petra, Jordan, Middle-East, Asia

Petra, name Semitic or Raqmu or Rekem, is a pre-Islamic Nabataean city of present Jordan located in Wadi Rum, World Heritage of UNESCO. Located halfway between the Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea, at 3 hour drive from Amman, the Jordanian capital. Founded in ancient times towards the end of VIIIᵉ century BC by the Edomites, then it was occupied by the Nabateans in the sixth century who took advantage of its position on the caravan route to transport incense, spices and other valuable goods between Egypt, Syria, South Arabia and the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, two centuries later, it was seen in the gradual abandonment by its inhabitants due to earthquakes and changing trade routes. In 1812, Swiss explorer Jean Louis Burckhardt rediscovered the site. In 1830, the site became a place to visit, additional religious pilgrimages and source of profits for many heads of neighboring tribes.
The numerous buildings, including the monumental facades are directly cut into the rock, make it a monumental and unique set surrounded by a National Archaeological Park.
The situation of Petra, hidden between rocks and steep walls with a safe water supply makes it an ideal location for the development of a prosperous city. The place is accessible only by a narrow mountain trail from the north-west or east through a canyon of about 1.5 kilometer long and up to 200 meters deep, the Siq, access main, which in the narrowest point, has only two meters wide. Collection and water distribution facilities to store and transport water by overcoming the steep terrain are still visible today.
Tourism began after the Second World War, in the past, the city was only accessible to tourists and researchers, accompanied by local guides and armed escorts. The Bedul nomads living in the ruins of Petra until 1980; they are now tourist guides or traders established around. But unfortunately, the tourism sector is dependent on economic and political stability of the region.

Tips

Before departure obtain your required tourist visa at the embassy or consulate or upon arrival at the airport in Amman ( you have to pay in local currency) .
You have more than twenty hotels to choose for your visit.
The entrance to the site is paid. A night tour of Petra, under the lights is possible, to discover the city from another angle .
UNESCO and the authorities advise against walking back offered animals as dust raised by the animals encrusted in the cracks and crannies of the Siq and ruins, damaging them.

Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestine

Bethlehem is a town in West Bank, a region of Palestine, important religious centre, about 10 km south of Jerusalem, which has 30,000 inhabitants, mainly Muslim Palestinians. The city has a small community of Palestinian Christians, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. For Jews, the name is Ephrata and is the place of birth and Coronation of the King of Israel David. Regarded by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. It is a place of pilgrimage that generates an important economic activity in the Christmas period. The city is also the seat of a place holy to Judaism, Rachel’s Tomb, located at the entrance of the city. Since 1995, the city is under the administration of the Palestinian Authority. There is also the Church of the Nativity with his famous star and the cave of the milk. The Christian assertions are not corroborated by archaeological discoveries in Bethlehem where no trace of contemporary habitat of Jesus was last updated so far. Between 1992 and 2003, the Israeli archaeologist Aviram Oshri led rescue excavations in the homonymous village of Bethlehem in Galilee, 6 km west of Nazareth. It has been the remains of a Jewish occupation of Herodian time, those of a Christian Basilica and issued the hypothesis that the Galilean village of Bethlehem would be the true birthplace of Jesus.
The city is now partially surrounded by the Israeli barrier in the form of an 8-metre wall built by the Israeli authorities.
Bethlehem received in 2000 the visit of Pope John Paul II to commemorate the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Christ.

Tips

You can go by bus from Jerusalem, at the Damascus Gate and it will leave you in front of the wall, at the Israeli checkpoint. You will need to submit your papers and get a permit from the authority to enter, after crossing the wall, you can take a shared taxi to the city. To return with the same bus, you will need to pass a control where you present your papers again.
Alternatively, you can take a taxi to Jerusalem. If the driver is Arabic, he may cross the wall, arrange a tour with a local guide and take you back to Jerusalem.
If you rent an Israeli car, it cannot penetrate in the territories.
A half-day visit to the Basilica of the Nativity and the old town is needed.