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From USD 550
The Masar Ibrahim al Khalil offers travellers a rare opportunity to go beyond the headlines and the stereotypes, to get away from the ordinary Holy Land tours, and to explore for themselves the remarkable landscape, people and culture of Palestine, breathtaking landscape, ancient historical sites, friendly, hospitable, and spirited people. Traversing across the country is not very well known to the outside world. The Masar (‘Path’) provides a rare chance for travellers to be welcomed into ordinary Palestinian homes, to share a homemade traditional meal and listen to stories of traditions and customs, and to learn about the daily lives, concerns, and hopes of the people. Palestine is an extraordinary land. Take that first step to walk the Masar Ibrahim al Khalil, and it is guaranteed that you will be rewarded with this life-enhancing experience.
More information: http://masaribrahim.ps/en/
FROM ARTAS TO TEQUA’
Start from Solomon’s Pools down to the village of Artas, where we can have tea with local families and visit the convent built to commemorate the ‘closed garden’ mentioned in the Biblical Song of Songs. We walk south from Artas to the village of Tequa’ – an ancient village believed to be the birthplace of the prophet Amos. The ruins of an early Byzantine church built over the prophet’s tomb can still be seen today. After exploring the archaeological site we are invited by the women of the Tequa’ Women’s Society to drink tea and learn about the traditional embroidery and hand woven carpets made by their cooperative. We stay as guests with families in the village.
DOWN THE WADI JIHAR TO THE DESERTS OF RASHAYDEH
We leave the village on foot, descending into the spectacular Wadi Jihar – a deep limeston canyon that winds down into the desert towards the Dead Sea. There has been a human presence in this wilderness for millennia – flints points found in one of caves above the Wadi date from the Middle Paleolithic period, which reaches back almost 300,000 years. We emerge from the valley at a place called Rashaydeh, where we spend the night with a Bedouin family.The grandfather of this family, Ali, is a wonderful storyteller who still remembers the old ways of the Bedouin.
DESERT SUNRISE IN RASHAYDEH, AND ON TOWARDS BENI NAIM
Early risers can watch the sun rise over the desert, before leaving camp on foot to walk up towards Beni Naim. Along the way we pass the ruins of an early Byzantine monastic community founded at the very beginning of the sixth century. More than 120 hermit monks once dwelt
here in isolated cells cut from the limestone, including Saint Sabas, the leader of the monastic movement in Palestine. From the monastery the trail climbs steadily out of the desert, towards the cultivated zone around Beni Naim, with spectacular views back across the Rift Valley. We reach the farming country around Beni Naim in the evening, where we are welcomed as guests of a local family.
BENI NAIM AND HEBRON / ALKHALIL
We walk to the almost unknown sacred site of Beni Naim an ancient ‘high place’ or sanctuar in the southern hills of Palestine, said to the mountain from which Abraham watched the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in the valley below. This is the most evocative of the old
Abrahamic places, unchanged since it was first described by the great Arab traveler Ibn Battuta in around 1325. From here we walk the final few kilometers in Hebron / Al Khalil itself, ending our walk at the burial place of Abraham in the heart of the old town the focus of our pilgrimage
across Palestine and the end of our long journey on foot. After we’ve visited alHaram al Ibrahimi, there may be a chance to meet with the leaders of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, who are working to restore the old town as the centre of civic and commercial life in Hebron. We transfer by road from here to Bethlehem.