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Posts Tagged ‘Promotion’

Jesus of Nazareth Lived Here

Monday, December 12th, 2011
Jerusalem - Holy Land Journey with Encounters Travel

Jerusalem - Holy Land Journey with Encounters Travel

Known in the 4,000 year-old City of Jerusalem as ‘Haram Esh-Sharif’ and ‘Western Wall’, your guide will explain all this stonework — the remains of the original Fort Antonia. The early Roman fortress was named after General Marcus Antonius of Antony-and-Cleopatra fame. Forty years after King Herod Antipater crucified Jesus, Fort Antonia was used to house the Roman 10th Legion. In 273 AD the soldiers were ordered out of Jerusalem.

At the Western Wall, remember that it is Jerusalem’s oldest preserved building fragment since Jesus of Nazareth lived here. For ages, people have argued about the origins and history of these holy places. That’s why the Western Wall (Hakotel Hama’aravi) is believed by some to be what is left of the outer walls of King Herod the Great’s long-ago destroyed Temple Mount. It was the Christians of the 1660s who christened it the ‘Wailing Wall’.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is within the city walls of Old Jerusalem. Fire has licked and regularly destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre over the ages. In 1808 the dome of the rotunda imploded spectacularly, its disappearance caused the equally spectacular Ottoman Baroque restoration work of 1810. Improvements never stop at the Church, but its appearance hasn’t really changed since 1854. Today’s 1870s dome was restored between 1994 and 1997 — renovations that have hammered and sawn away since 1959.

No crusading Knight’s 12th-century ‘armed pilgrimage’ was considered complete until he had knelt down to pray at the Holy Sepulchre. This was because in 1149, all traces of Jesus Christ’s execution, entombment and resurrection were placed together under one roof. Following structural improvements in 1555, management of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre alternated between Franciscans and Orthodox. After many discussions and arguments, they were given permanently shared control in 1853.

This land of Golgotha — of the Hill of Calvary — where Jesus was crucified, entombed in a sepulchre and then rose again, was worshiped as holy. But in 135 AD, seething with anti-Christian rage, Roman Emperor Hadrian blotted this landscape with a temple to Venus and her Greek equivalent, Aphrodite. He also dumped his province’s ‘Judaea’ name, re-branding it as ‘Syria Palaestina’. Then, around 325 AD, 1st Emperor Constantine fully supported his mother’s ambition to destroy Hadrian’s tasteless temple. And over its foundations a basilica was built to honour the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

Visit Jerusalem on the Holy Land Journey Tour with Encounters Travel

Special offer departing 12 February 2011 from £800 per person.



Rose-Red Petra

Friday, December 9th, 2011
Explore Petra with Encounters Travel

Explore Petra with Encounters Travel

Moses raised his staff high towards the hot dry cliff-face, smashed it hard against the rock. Water glinted, dribbled, seeped, spurted and streamed down — a real shower. According to Arab tradition, this refreshing Biblical scene happened here in around 1350 BC. The Arab name for the narrow valley at that leads to Petra is The Wadi Musa — ‘Wadi of Moses’.

Built in the 6th century BC as a capitol for the Nabataeans, Petra is your reward for a horse or camel-ride through the Siq, a narrow corridor of cliffs. Circle around more rose red rocks and you’ll arrive at the amphitheatre, the museum and — 800 steps up a mountain — the unmissable monastery. This is Petra’s largest monument, and dates from the 1st century BC. It is dedicated to Obodas I and, according to inscriptions, it is believed to be the meeting place of the god Obodas.

Petra means rock, and it is a city of immense historical importance in this, the Jordanian governorate of Ma’an. Sandstone and granite rock-cut architecture and water conduits are the Wow!-factors here. Established as the capital city of the Nabataeans, Petra is a wonderful symbol of Jordan and also its number 1 tourist draw. Lying on the slope of Mount Hor, Petra is a basin among mountains that are the eastern flank of Wadi Arabah — the mighty valley that runs from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.

Petra was unheard of in the West until 1812, when it was ‘discovered’ by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. In recent decades Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has included images of Petra’s Al Khazneh Treasury. It is actually just a massive a frontage, an incredible 40m-high tomb hacked out of mountain in the 1st century BC, probably by Near-Eastern Hellenistic architects. It was appropriately listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, and was chosen as one of ‘the 40 places you have to see before you die’ by the BBC.

Offer for our Jordan tours can be found on our special offers page here:


Jordan Encounters for just £695 per person departing on 18 December and 25 December 2011.

Email or call 0800 088 6002.

Showing Off with Stonework

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
Egypt Tours with Encounters Travel

Egypt Tours with Encounters Travel

Cairo is Africa’s city of 15 million — they don’t come with more residents on the entire continent. It is hot, hot-headed and frenetic with bustle, bazaars and traffic chaos. Our trip itinerary includes the experience of Coptic Cairo. You will visit The Hanging Church — built into the masonry of the Roman water-gate, before moving on to Saints Sergius-the Bacchus Church. Also known as Abu Serga, this 4th century-AD Coptic Church is believed to stand on the spot where Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus rested after their journey into Egypt.

Cairo’s Egyptian Museum exhibits King Tutankhamun’s fabulously famous Gold Mask. Moulded to hide his facial bandaging, it is 11kg of solid-gold and clearly represents dynasties that buried their treasure and artefacts with their corpses. A reminder that to ancient Egyptians, ‘you can’t take it with you’ was pleasantly unthinkable!

The world’s largest pyramids rise from the lands of Egypt, China and Mexico. Unknown to most until the 1940s, China’s great pyramids are about 91.44 metres high; as for Mexico, its Teotihuacán falls short of 58 metres. Famous for millennia, Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest of the three in the Giza Necropolis, and is 146.5 metres tall. Usefully, ancient Egyptians were also ambitious enough to invent the first calendar, making it easier to estimate when Giza’s pyramids were constructed. We know that The Great Pyramid took approximately 20 years to build, was completed in about 2560 BC, and that it stood, the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years — the longest period ever held for such a record.

The pyramids at Giza blot out so much sky and are so wonderfully ancient, that it is difficult to think of the land on which their foundations were dug before the first pyramid stood finished. 100 years before Giza’s pyramid shapes were first drawn up; this desert plateau lay flat and featureless, waiting for its townspeople’s grandchildren to think of how great all this would look with pyramids!

Early inspiration for Giza’s pyramids came from ancient prehistoric graves and tombs, and crucially, from Egypt’s very first pyramid at Saqqara. Completed in 2648 BC, it was ‘stepped’ at an angle and honoured King Netjerikhet Djoser. Egypt’s first two ‘true’ non-‘stepped’ pyramids appeared in Meidum, both enormous, and built by order of King Sneferu between 2589 and 2566 BC. Sneferu’s son and heir, Khufu, became a well-known constructor of pyramids. So much so that on completion, The Great Pyramid of Giza was chosen to be his funeral monument.

But why did ancient Egyptians need to build monuments to their dead on such a huge scale? How much of all this was showing off with stonework — an over-confident desire to construct something highly intimidating? Intimidation frightens and suppresses both the enemy and the local populous. Barbaric ways of achieving this included displaying severed heads or hung corpses. Everyone could smell and witness them grimly rotting over the months.

Pyramids could frighten and deter too, exclude the masses with their in-built dynastic, religious or astronomical association — many believe they were associated to all three. What’s certain is that during the construction of the pyramids at Giza, and over the years until their completion, they transfixed; they were built to transfix with unworldly mystery and ‘impossible’ architectural and engineering accomplishment.

Look at our early booking offer for our Nubian Adventure Tour here:

Prices from £360 per person.










Santa, Snow And Stroganoff – Russia From £749 Per Person This Christmas

Monday, December 5th, 2011
Iconic Russia Tour with Encounters Travel

Iconic Russia Tour with Encounters Travel

For those wanting guaranteed snow this Christmas, Encounters Travel ( / 0800 088 6002) is offering a saving of £200 off their eight-day Iconic Russia tour, departing 24 December. Available for a reduced rate of £749 per person, the price includes return airport transfers in Russia, accommodation in three-star hotels, plus an overnight train journey on a mixed board basis. The tour offers the perfect introduction to this vast country, beginning in historic St Petersburg before travelling through the 10th century town of Veliky Novgorod on the way to discover the world famous landmarks of the capital, Moscow.

Famous for its freezing temperatures, dramatic history, hearty food and of course vodka, highlights of this all-encompassing eight-day trip include a full day exploring the former Russian capital of St Petersburg with a visit to the infamous Yusupov Palace, before travelling to the magnificent Pavlovsk Palace followed by the old Russian city of Veliky Novgorod. Next, the tour takes to the rails with an overnight train journey to Moscow followed by a tour of the nearby religious site of Sergiev Posad, which is the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church. Home to a museum rich with Russian history, the group has the whole day to explore before returning to Moscow. More information is available on the tour here:

Contact Encounters Travel to book your place. Email


Kathmandu: Among the Mighty Himalayas

Friday, November 25th, 2011
Kathmandu Pashupatinath Temple - Nepal

Kathmandu Pashupatinath Temple - Nepal

Landlocked 2,000-year-old Nepal is totally surrounded by China and India. About 50 million years ago, slow-moving tectonic plates first crashed together, and the Himalayas began to grow as high as mountains.

Today, tectonic plates still push hard, and the Himalayas continue to grow 1 cm taller a year; that’s 10 km-per-million years!  Near to Nepal are 8 of the world’s 10 tallest mountains — including the highest, Mount Everest.

Kathmandu and its two neighbouring cities, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, have grown in a bowl-shaped hollow in the Himalayan Valley. Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, is incredible. You know that you’ve reached somewhere really special as you walk through its crowded streets of traffic, rickshaws, street vendors and busy Nepalese.

Hinduism is practised by a larger majority in Nepal than in any other nation. However, Buddhism has a far greater background history in Nepal. Surprisingly, many Nepalese don’t really distinguish between Hinduism and Buddhism — they follow both.

An ultimate destination since the 1960s, Kathmandu feels like it’s rushing into the modern world, while it’s not quite ready to escape its past. The busy streets have internet cafés and fast-food outlets, but if you go off-track and head for the back lanes, you’ll find peaceful courtyards and temples among golden marigold bushes.

Walk into Durbar Square (Hanuman Dhoka); a beautiful complex of palaces and temples that were built by the Malla Kings between the 12th and 18th centuries. This is the religious and social centre of Kathmandu. Here, enjoy visiting the Taleju Temple, the statue of King Pratap Malla, the Big Bell and Big Drum, and the Jagnnath Temple.

The Monkey Temple (Swayambhunath Stupa) is one of Nepal’s best-known Buddhist shrines. Monkeys watch and dart around their golden spire — all are thought of as holy.

Another amazing place to visit is the Balaju Water Garden, 5 km northwest of Kathmandu. Here are beautiful religious shrines, fishponds and waterspouts carved in the shape of sea-dragons.

Kathmandu is an ideal destination for the energetic trekker. If Mount Everest seems too tall an order, the region is full of relaxing, easy treks that lead you from one peaceful village to another. Walk beside river paths and through rice terraces — all guarded by the snow-topped Himalayas. It’s a region of old and new, where Kathmandu has so much to offer the adventurous traveller.

We are offering a 15% discounts off all Nepal tours for passengers departing from 01 December 2011 to 29 February 2012 and again from 01 May 2012 to 31 August 2012. Take a look here

Spread the like and get a £50 voucher for Encounters Travel!

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
Spread the Facebook 'like' to your friends and win a £50 Encounters voucher.

Spread the Facebook 'like' to your friends and win a £50 Encounters voucher.

Spread the Facebook ‘like’ to your friends and win a £50 Encounters voucher. We are offering a £50 Encounters Travel voucher to anyone who invites 20 friends to ‘like’ our page on Facebook. Our page is here

Suggest our page to your friends either on Twitter or Facebook and if they like us we will thank you with a voucher.

Just send us the names and email addresses of the friends you suggested to quoting promo code 1121 for Twitter and 1122 for Facebook.

They will then receive our specials for Facebook fans and Twitter followers only.

All your friends will be entered into a draw for a voucher too! Just one voucher per entrant and we will close this offer on 31 December 2011!

Share the news about our fab tours and be a winner!