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The Bible makes for an unusual travel guide but in the West Bank it's probably the most important book you could pack. Although minuscule in size, the Palestinian-held West Bank contains hundreds of sites associated with the Old and New Testaments. First on most travel itineraries is Bethlehem, the legendary site of Jesus' birth. Under the Church of the Nativity you can climb into the grotto where a 14-pointed silver star marks the momentous spot. Winding your way south of Bethlehem, through an Israeli checkpoint or two, you'll find the volatile city of Hebron. Visitors come here to pay homage to the Cave of Machpelah, over which lies the ...

The Bible makes for an unusual travel guide but in the West Bank it's probably the most important book you could pack. Although minuscule in size, the Palestinian-held West Bank contains hundreds of sites associated with the Old and New Testaments. First on most travel itineraries is Bethlehem, the legendary site of Jesus' birth. Under the Church of the Nativity you can climb into the grotto where a 14-pointed silver star marks the momentous spot. Winding your way south of Bethlehem, through an Israeli checkpoint or two, you'll find the volatile city of Hebron. Visitors come here to pay homage to the Cave of Machpelah, over which lies the Tomb of the Patriarchs (aka Ibrahimi Mosque), the biblical burial ground for Adam, Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives. A short drive east of Jerusalem leads to the dusty, desert city of Jericho, well-known in the Bible for its tumbling walls. The city sits at the foot of the Mount of Temptation, where the devil tempted Jesus. Farther north, Nablus is the most attractive West Bank city. Mt. Gerizim, which looms over the town, is reputed in the Bible as the first piece of land ever created; it is particularly holy to the small community of Samaritans. Note that the Israeli checkpoints en route to many of the holy places can complicate travel.

Michael Kohn
About the Expert

Michael Kohn is the author of Lonely Planet guides to Israel & the Palestinian Territories, South Africa, Tibet, Central Asia, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka.

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Michael Kohn for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Middle East; between Egypt and Lebanon; bordering the Mediterranean Sea
  • Language: Hebrew; Arabic; English
  • Currency: Israeli Shekel
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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    March to April or September to October