The Holy Land
(15-21 august 2007)
When you go to the Holy Land it’s not used the expression “I’m going to make a trip to the Holy Land” or “I do a tour in the Holy Land”. Usually we use a more sober such as “I’m going to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land,” also as a form of respect for a beautiful area of the Earth and battered, the nerve center of Chistianity and beyond.
This, in short, can never be a journey like everyone else.
First, the Holy Land does not exist on maps but it’s only a tourist-religious expression to identify a set of cities and places in some way connected to the life of Jesus.
The Holy Land in fact embraces a state, Israel, and Palestine, a region with uncertain boundaries and evolving, constantly exposed to very often bloody conflicts.
On a trip “normal” we are driven usually by the spring of curiosity or simply by the desire to rest, relax or even the desire to have fun.
Here there is none of this.
There is no fun, in the strictest sense of the word. It is not usually provided for evenings on the beach or at the disco. There is no relaxation because the trips are numerous and not at all restful.
And there’s no curiosity. You cannot imagine that it is going to visit the Holy Sepulchre “just out of curiosity.”
The spirit that drives you to face such a trip is just what the “pilgrim”, for visiting the places that played a role in the earthly life of Jesus.
The journey, or rather, the pilgrimage touches in fact the most holy places in Christendom. It doesn’t matter how you think under the religious aspect.
Nevertheless, there are also moments of healthier leisure or visiting scenically important places.
It’s the caso of the Dead Sea. A bath in these waters is a unique experience as the salinity of the water allows you to float without any effort.
Or the desert of Judah, a completely desolate landscape, characterized by barren and uninhabited hills.
O great historical areas such as the Qumran where the famous “Dead Sea Scrolls”, one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the modern era have been found.
And not the architectural beauty of some important monuments such as the Basilica of the Nativity or the Holy Sepulcher, the landmarks of two cities (Jerusalem and Bethlehem) so near (just over ten kilometers) but even so far (it also lacks found in two “States” different, the first in Palestine, the second in Israel, divided by a wall guarded by the military).
In short, a trip to believers but also those who are not believers will find moments of great historical, artistic and natural heritage.
NOT TO BE MISSED
Jerusalem (the Temple Mount, the Holy Sepulchre)
Bethlehem (the Church of the Nativity)
Nazareth (The Basilica of the Annunciation)
The Dead Sea
The Judean desert
Tabgha (the place that recalls the miracle of the loaves and fishes)
Jericho (the “oldest city in the world”)
Mount Tabor (where took place the Transfiguration of Jesus).
The Mount of Beatitudes