Just in time for the holiday season, we conclude our Journey to the Holy Land with a visit to the Sea of Galilee region of Israel. This is a region with history that dates back to over 2,000 years with many important sites for the Christian faith. We start at the Sea of Galilee, then head to the ancient ruins at Capernaum, and finish at the River Jordan. Let's explore the top places to photograph.
Behind the scenes video:
1. Sea of Galilee - This is a region where you can literally follow in Jesus' footsteps. We start at the Sea of Galilee, which is the site where Jesus walked on water and performed many miracles. It is the largest lake in Israel and appears out of the desert. The water is warm, but is known to be stormy, so be sure to bring this before filming. It is surrounded by desert hills, making for a unique landscape.
2. Sea of Galilee Boat Ride - The best way to experience the Sea of Galilee is by riding along the waters. The boat ride is a picturesque and spiritual experience as many tours read through the excerpts of the Bible where the Sea of Galilee is mentioned.
3. The Yigal Allon Center - This is the museum where you can see the "Jesus Boat" which is an ancient boat from the time of Jesus, found miraculously in the 1980s.
4. Sermon on the Mount - Located on top of the mountains along the Sea of Galilee is a modern church said to be located on the area where Jesus gave his famous sermon. The views are spectacular and there are beautiful gardens outside of the church.
5. Capernaum - This is where Jesus performed his healings and the site of a 4th century synagogue. The ruins of the synagogue are picturesque, as many of the columns still stand.
6. River Jordan - This is the baptismal site of Jesus. The River Jordan is where many people travel to be baptized. The River Jordan flows to the Dead Sea. It is not only a spiritual area, but also very picturesque as it is surrounded by palms and some of the only natural lush landscape in the region.
The Journey to the Holy Land continues as we travel to the Dead Sea and Masada. These are two popular excursions that can be done within a day trip from Jerusalem and offer some of the most surreal photo shoot landscapes.
Watch the behind the scenes video:
First stop is Masada, which is located on top of a mountain in the Judean desert about an hour and a half from Jerusalem. We take a funicular to the top of the mountain, which is over 400 meters high. This is isolated spot is where King Herod, King of Judea's fortress was built so he could protect himself from a revolt. It is a fortified temple that includes his living quarters, a sauna, a swimming pool with mosaic floors, a cistern with rainwater, and more - all built in Roman style. It is amazing to see such a historic site in the middle of a barren desert.
After King Herod died, the Romans seized Masada and the Jewish rebels decided to take their own lives rather than be at the hands of the Romans. The site is now place where the Israeli Army takes an oath to protect Israel. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most respected sites for the Jewish people.
Photo Pro Tip: There are multiple vantage points along the edges of Masada where you can photograph the panorama of the Judean desert and Dead Sea.
Next stop is the Dead Sea, which is located on the Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian desert land. We visit Kalia beach and float in the water. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth at 394 meters below sea level. The water has an unusual salt concentration, giving it a natural buoyancy. It is surrounded by a barren desert landscape, which makes for surreal photography. We covered ourselves with the mud from the muddy shores and floated in the water. The beach is enclosed with buoys and is very crowded at the sunset time.
Photo Pro Tip: Venture to the edge of the buoys where no one else is floating and bring a book into the water. Bring a waterproof case for your phone. This will help you get the iconic Dead Sea photo (see below).
Also, something to note about the Dead Sea is that it is very muddy. The sea floor is like quicksand, there are areas with coarse salt crystals, and the water can be harsh on your camera gear. Be sure to bring the following travel essentials and camera equiptment before embarking on the Dead Sea and Masada excursion:
Jerusalem is considered by many to be the holiest city in the world as it has sacred sites for the Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The old city of Jerusalem attracts pilgrims from these faiths, and has been fought over and conquered by many groups over the years. So many cultures have left their mark on the Israeli capital that it makes it truly unmatched in its abundance of photo-worthy sites.
In this video, we explore the four quarters of the city and see some of the most historic and sacred sites.
I recognize that this is an area of extreme importance to many people so please keep comments civil and respect all faiths.
1. Mount of Olives - Arguable the best panoramic view of Jerusalem. Many tour groups stop here and there is also an opportunity to ride the camel.
2. Church of All Nations - Beautiful church built next to garden of Gethsemane.
3. Tomb of King David - Jerusalem is King David's city, and he is buried in Jerusalem's Old City.
4. Jerusalem Walls - We enter Jerusalem through Zion Gate. We also pass by the Golden Gate which is sealed and has significant meaning to Jews as it is where the Messiah will enter the city when He comes to rule.
5. Gethsemane - Garden where Jesus prayed before the Crucifixion. Features olive trees from the time of Christ.
6. Church of Holy Sepulchre - Church built in the 4th Century, and arguably the most sacred site in Christianity as it is built on the site where Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected.
7. Via Dolorosa - Path where Jesus walked during the crucifixion.
8. Kotel (Western Wall) - Holiest site in the Jewish faith and only remaining relic of the Temple Mount. During our trip, there was a party in this area because someone had just completed writing the Torah.
9. Jewish Quarter - We walk through the Jewish Quarter which leads to the Kotel.
10. Armenian Quarter - Jerusalem has a large resettlement community for the Armenian people within the Old City.
11. Christian Quarter - The Christian Quarter contains the Church of Holy Sepulchre and Via Dolorosa.
12. Muslim Quarter - The Dome of the Rock and the souq (market) are main highlights.
What are your favorite sites in Jerusalem?
Stay tuned, next up is the Dead Sea and Masada!
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