Jerusalem (Haifa), Israel
On the plateau of the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and Dead Seas lies one of the oldest cities in the world. The very atmosphere of the ancient city of Jerusalem is heavy with solemn energy and sacred history. Along the northern slope of Mount Carmel lies the port city of Haifa, where your pilgrimage begins to a land filled with religious significance.
Atop Mount Carmel, the view gives way to a sprawling, modern city complete with skyscrapers and contemporary constructs. Often called “Israel’s San Francisco,” Haifa contains a bustling city alive with workers and residents as they go about their daily lives. Filled with museums and cultural events, Haifa boasts a rich and vibrant backdrop for even the most experienced traveler.
But the true jewel of the city are the Bahai Gardens, an oasis with Italian stone, fountains, emerald lawns, and vibrant flowers sloping down 19 steep terraces to a resplendent dome shrine that makes up the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Out at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a hushed reverence falls over the place of prayer, a site rife with emotion. Walking through the old stone corridors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, you cannot help but get mired in the history of this sacred city that holds significance to many major religions.
Venturing to the outskirts of the city, you find the Mount of Olives, where some of the oldest olive trees in the world still stand. The Garden of Gethsemane provides another holy site, with a backdrop of lush green to feel the embrace of nature.