Where is the Holy Land Compared to Today's Geography?
People often talk about visiting the Holy Land, but where is the Holy Land compared to today’s geography? There are many benefits to visiting the Middle East and seeing these locations for yourself, whether you have religious intent or not. For those who adhere to the Jewish and Christian systems of faith, a wealth of historical knowledge can be found in the region. Though borders have changed over time as kingdoms and dynasties have come and gone, much of what we read about in the Bible can still be understood when we look upon the Holy Land sites with our own eyes. If you’ve asked yourself, “Where is the Holy Land compared to today’s geography?,” let us give you a crash course.
Israel - Where is the Holy Land?
When people talk about “the Holy Land,” what they most often mean is the country of Israel. There are many lands mentioned in the Bible, some of which we’ll discuss later on, but the majority of the action takes place in and around the country now known as Israel.
Jerusalem and the West Bank
Where is the Holy Land? For most people, the city of Jerusalem is its epicenter. Though parts of the city are important to the Muslim faith as well, most of the connections made in this ancient city belong to the Judeo-Christian tradition. The eastern half of Jerusalem is part of the West Bank, a 2000+ square mile piece of land that has gone back and forth in ownership between Jordan and Israel, with the latter currently having possession. Many of the events of the Bible took place within the modern borders of the West Bank.
As for Jerusalem itself, the city and its surrounding area contain an array of unforgettable sites from the life of Jesus and the reigns of Kings David and Solomon. One of the most iconic sites for the Jewish faith is the spot where Solomon had built his temple for the Lord. Despite being destroyed centuries ago, the point where it is believed to have rested (known as the Temple Mount) is still a revered sight today. Of course, the Islamic faith’s Dome of the Rock currently stands at this location, which has led to heated contention. The Christian faith also has a claim to the city of Jerusalem, in that it is here where Jesus Christ’s final days occurred. From the Biblical account of His death, you can still see the Garden of Gethsemane, the Mount of Olives, and the sites where it is believed that Jesus is believed to have been crucified and buried.
Jerusalem isn’t just associated with the death of Jesus, though. Nearby you will see the city of Bethlehem. This is where the Bible tells us Jesus was born. Found only five miles south of the center of Jerusalem is the Church of the Nativity, which is where Jesus is believed to have come into the world. If you’re visiting the Holy Land for the first time, Jerusalem will probably be your main stop.
Jericho is another well-known location from the Bible you can still visit in the West Bank. Around 15 miles northeast of Jerusalem, the spot once boasted the mighty walled city detailed in the Old Testament. You won’t find those walls today, but the years have provided a number of great excavations. Jericho is one of the area’s constant reminders of political fluctuations, as the city has been governed by the Palestinian National Authority since the 1990s.
Another Palestinian city in the West Bank that may be of interest to anyone asking “Where is the Holy Land?” is Hebron. Though not as popular as some other Middle East destinations, Hebron is a vibrant city that is hotly contested in today’s cultural and political landscape. The city is routinely mentioned throughout the Old Testament of the Bible. It is here that David is anointed as the king of Israel. Hebron is also home to the Cave of the Patriarchs. This is where you will find the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their wives.
The West Bank isn’t the only place to go for some Biblical history either. On Israel’s Mediterranean coast you can see the port city of Joppa (Jaffa, as it is called today) where Jonah is said to have chartered a ship to Tarshish in an effort to run away from God’s calling, according to the Bible. Speaking of bodies of water, no trip to the Holy Land is complete without seeing the Sea of Galilee, found on the northeastern tip of Israel where the country meets Syria. The beautiful sea is the setting for many important events in the New Testament of the Bible, including Jesus calling His first disciples and miracles being performed along its surrounding shoreline. One of the towns found along that shoreline is Capernaum, which still stands today. After his temptations in the desert, Jesus briefly settled here to find His disciples and begin His ministry. Capernaum is the hometown for several apostles and the site of many miracles. Today you can still visit some of the relics and museums tied to these events.
Some of the locations associated with the most amazing portions of Biblical history have now become national parks in Israel. One of these is Mount Carmel National Park. Found on the northwestern tip of Israel, Mount Carmel is the Old Testament site where Elijah is said to have called down fire from heaven to prove that God was greater than the idol Baal.
Between the West Bank and these northern locations lies the region known as Nazareth. Today, it is a city with a high concentration of Arabic people, though there are many Christian groups as well. As for its connection to the Bible, Nazareth is known as the childhood home of Jesus Christ. This has led to a number of beautiful churches being raised up over the years, including the Church of the Annunciation (where Mary is thought to have been spoken to by an angel concerning Jesus’ birth).
Syria, Egypt, and Other Countries
Where is the Holy Land compared to today’s geography? It depends on what you’re looking for. Outside of Israel, you can still find several Biblical sites. Damascus in Syria is mentioned multiple times in the Bible, most famously for the conversion of Saul, or Paul. After being blinded on the road by the presence of Jesus post-resurrection, Saul traveled to Damascus and stayed on Straight Street, which still exists today.
Though we may not have as much historical information as we’d like, the book of Exodus also plays an important role in Jewish history. All of these events take place in Egypt and along the Israelites’ journey back home. Jebel Musa (or Jabal Mousa), found on the Sinai peninsula, is thought to be the Mount Sinai mentioned in the Bible where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. You can still visit the mountain today and there are places of worship for multiple faiths, though not all are still in operation.
We’d like to continue answering your question of “Where is the Holy Land?,” but once you step back from the country of Israel, there are a multitude of small locations in the Middle East with religious significance. This is why no visitor can ever see all that the modern Holy Land has to offer in a single trip. You will always learn of another place where a king of Israel did something important or a member of the early Christian church performed a miracle. To see it all, you’re just going to have to return again and again.
Fortunately for you, Premier Israel is here to help you with all of your traveling needs concerning the Holy Land. Want to put together your own group of travelers? We can take care of the details. Wish to join us for an exciting journey with Biblical scholars and Christian personalities? Let us show you all of the trips we are currently booking. Find out how you can see the Holy Land for yourself by clicking on the link below.