King Herod’s Tomb & Jerusalem
In addition to exploring Jerusalem in depth, discover one of Israel’s greatest archaeological finds, the tomb of King Herod, which remained undiscovered for centuries. Discovered in 2007, the tomb has drawn great public interest; however, through special arrangement, Crystal Cruises has become the first cruise-line granted permission to visit the rare find, lead by an archeologist on site.
DurationApproximately 9½ hours
Departing Ashdod by air-conditioned motor coach, travel eastward, ascending the Judean Hills. Arriving in the Old City, begin a walking exploration at Zion Gate, scene of some of the fiercest fighting during the siege of 1948. Enter the Jewish Quarter and see the Cardo, the main thoroughfare in Roman and Byzantine times. You will also see the newly rebuilt Hurva Synagogue, before arriving at the Herodian Quarter, where you may visit archaeological excavations of the wealthy residential quarter of Herodian Jerusalem.
Descending into the lower city, view the Temple Mount and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock. With its stunning blue and gold ceramic tiles, this amazing shrine built in the late 7th century is considered the third holiest site in Islam. You will also visit the famous Western (Wailing) Wall, the holiest site in the Jewish world because it is believed to have been closest to where the Holy Ark once stood.
Continue to the Davidson Center, where you are invited to embark on a virtual reality journey through Second-Temple-period Jerusalem. During your visit, interactively explore the Herodian Temple Mount reconstruction using a supercomputer.
Following lunch in Jerusalem, your journey continues to the Herodion National Park, Herod’s well-fortified vacation palace.
King Herod was the Roman-appointed King of Judea from 37 to 4 BCE, and was renowned for his many monumental building projects, including the reconstruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, Massada, Caesarea and its outstanding harbor, as well as the complex at Herodion. Herodion, the only site that carries his name, is where he chose to be buried and to memorialize himself.
During May 2007, after more than 30 years of searching, the Hebrew University archeological team announced that they unearthed the remains of King Herod including his grave, sarcophagus, and mausoleum, thus solving one of Israel’s great archaeological mysteries.
Arriving at the archaeological site, you will meet with Dr. Oren Gutfeld, who was part of the discovery team and will act as your guide on this special adventure. He will provide commentary of this 30-year search, as well as the accomplishments of King Herod, as you explore the ancient tomb and become some of the first visitors to the tomb since it was sealed nearly 2,000 years prior.
After your exciting adventure, rejoin your motor coach and return to your Crystal ship.
Guests must be a minimum of 12 years old in order to participate. As this excursion involves extensive walking over uneven surfaces, it is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties. It is recommended that guests dress in conservative casual clothing, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, as well as wear flat, comfortable shoes. Shoulders and knees must be covered; sleeveless shirts and short are not allowed. In the unlikely event Dr. Oren Gutfeld is unavailable, a local expert guide or archaeologist will lead the exploration of Herod’s tomb. The order of sights visited may vary. This excursion will operate in all weather conditions. A minimum number of bookings is required for this excursion to operate. Pre-reservation of this Crystal Adventures excursion is recommended.