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9 May, 20129 May, 2012 0 comments Holy Sites Holy Sites

Tourism to Israel continues its upward trend as record numbers of tourists flocked to the Holy Land in April 2012.


A record 354,000 tourists arrived in Israel last month, representing a 12% increase over the last previous record April, set in 2010.


Over one million tourists have traveled to Israel during the first four months of 2012, representing a 19% increase over 2011 figures for the same period, and a 12% increase over the same period in 2010, the last record year for tourism.  Easter and Passover both  fell in the month of April in 2012 and in 2011.


tourism in israel
Tourists praying outside the Church of the Flagellation in Jerusalem. Photo courtesy Travelujah


In addition, the number of tourists entering by air increased 3% over the same period last year representing 793,000 entries. About 140,000 people entered by land borders, up 8 % over the same period in 2011. Much of this increase is attributed to the political stability in Egypt and accordingly, Israel's major tourism crossing border with Egypt had 42,600 tourists representing an increase of 30% compared to the same period last year.

Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnik

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25 December, 201125 December, 2011 0 comments Holy Sites Holy Sites

Here is the Christmas story as told through the churches in the Holy Land. Christmas here highlights the small but ancient Christian community that has existed in the Holy Land since soon after the days of Jesus' time on earth.

The following is Travelujah's listing of churches significant to the Christmas story and Christianity in the Holy Land as the events appear in scripture.

1. Church of St. John the Baptist, Jerusalem

Luke 1:11-17: "Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.'"

As seen in the book of Luke, the Christmas story actually begins with the announcement of the birth of Jesus' cousin, John

4 January, 20114 January, 2011 2 comments Holy Sites Holy Sites

Orthodox Christmas in the Holy Land continues this week with Orthodox Christians celebrating their holidays and most of their services and festivities taking place on Christmas eve, Jan. 6.


Greek, Syrian, Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Christians will converge at Manger Square in Bethlehem for their Christmas nearly two weeks after the Catholic and Protestant celebration of the holiday.


The disparity in the dates stems from the year 336 when Constantine declared Christianity the empire's religion. Eastern churches continued to commemorate Christmas on January 6 as the date for Christ's birth and his baptism, which up till then was celebrated as part of the Epiphany, the observance of the Magi arriving to see Jesus. The Western church continued to celebrate the Epiphany on Jan. 6 separat

2 January, 20112 January, 2011 0 comments Holy Sites Holy Sites

There are few places as diminutive from the outside and yet grandiose on the inside as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The church was built originally in 325 A.D. by Constantine's mother. He was the first emperor of Rome to officially convert to Christianity. He razed a former temple of Venus which had been built on the site several hundred years before during Hadrian's effort to rename Jerusalem Aelia Capetolina.


The site is of course traditionally believed to be the place where Jesus was crucified and where he was later resurrected in the presence of his twelve disciples. It also known to house the last four Stations of the Cross.


The building you'll visit today however is not the original building, nor is it even the original remade building or even the remade original building. In fact, few places have been destroyed and rebuilt more times than the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The church was destroyed by Persians in 614A.D. and then rebuilt for the first time soon after that. However, the church was to see additional destruction, being burned to the foundations in 1009 A.D. by Hakim, the Sultan of the Muslim Caliphate at the time (he's sometimes known as "Hakim the Mad").


It was partially rebuilt later in 1048 A.D. when money was provided by Constantine IX of the Byzantine Empire. However, the church built by Constantine IX's money was not nea

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