Book Gila for your Holy Land tour




Book Gila for your customized private memorable Jerusalem Tour

WALK JERUSALEM BY NIGHT accompanied by stories of Solomon's palace, Solomon's stables, Solomon's porticoes, Solomon's pantry and Solomon's brother.  And for good measure: Suleiman's dream and the escapades of the Baroness Angela Burdett-Couts and Captain Charles Warren.

The tour starts at Jaffa Gate and ends at Dung Gate. You choose the starting hour.  For more details email Gila. This exclusive evening tour outside the Old City walls is designed for anyone wanting to stretch his or her legs around Jerusalem and enjoys good old-fashioned story-telling.  (April 1 till September 25)

If you are looking for a funky veteran Jerusalem guide whose trademark is giving stimulating tours that immerse you in the Christian narrative, yet also expose you to Jewish and Moslem heritage in Jerusalem, then book Gila.
Her tours are:
GEARED TO YOUR SPECIAL INTERESTS, whether it be Bible, archeology, history or multi-faith.  If you are a solo traveler, Gila is your perfect mediator and interpreter of the cultural divide.
INTERACTIVE.  We're free to exchange ideas on topics close to the heart such as faith, politics, or ethnicity, which are all taboo on packaged tours.
LOADED WITH STORIES of adventures with archeologists (such as Yigal Shiloh, Dan Bahat, Meir Ben Dov) and laced with anecdotes gleaned while reporting for the non-profit Jerusalem Foundation established by Jerusalem's great 20th century builder Teddy Kollek.  You get the inside scoop!
ADVENTUROUS.  We never know exactly what is going to happen on tour.  That is Jerusalem.  Totally unpredictable.  For example, what if the messiah suddenly appears right in the middle of our tour?  (It's possible!)
In any case, your tour is guaranteed to be MEMORABLE!
Gila Yudkin, a Connecticut-born Yankee, has been guiding in King David's court for four decades.  (Yikes!)  At the beginning of her career, in the last century, she guided the popular two-hour Shabbat walking tours sponsored by the municipality of Jerusalem, each Shabbat to a different quarter of the Old City or to the Mount of Olives or the City of David.  Once she guided 101 (!) people on an anecdote-rich tour of the Christian Quarter churches and courtyards.

Gila guiding on the Mount of Olives with Jerusalem's Old City in the background

Photo:  Yacov Lemann

Gila guiding on the Mount of Olives with the Old City in the background

Now she has down-sized to guiding individual customized tours for people who are riveted by Jerusalem's past, present and/or future.  If you have stamina (and the budget!) for a high-end half-day exclusive walking tour, Gila can help you navigate the Old City alleyways, architecture, legends, religions and squabbles.
Types of individuals or small groups Gila's tours are particularly suited for:
  • Solo business travelers who want to explore Jerusalem's highlights
  • Interfaith couples who would like a tour embracing both Jewish and Christian narratives
  • History buffs who are especially interested in First Temple, Second Temple, Roman, Arab, Crusader, Turkish and/or Mandate periods in Jerusalem
  • Wanna-be archeologists who would like the 2- and 3-thousand year-old stones brought to life
  • Cool individuals who are curious and open-minded

I hired Gila for two days as a private guide for a very ambitious tour of Jerusalem.  She was totally knowledgeable, personable and energetic.  But I really want to highlight what happened on my tour that makes Gila a "special guide".

On the first day we were at the Holy Sepulcher and confronted with a very long line at the Tomb of Jesus.  Gila had the relationship with the Orthodox Priests to enable immediate entrance.  I looked at her and said "You're Good!"

The next day we were off for the Temple Mount.  Under the best of circumstances getting onto the Temple Mount is difficult.  The situation was even more difficult when I was there as it was the holiday of Shavuot.  The line was long and the situation complex.  I was even more amazed at Gila's ability to navigate the situation and get us immediate access.  I used the term "You're Good" once again, but this was an understatement.  "You're Amazing" would have been more appropriate!
Dave Chabinec, West Lawn, PA

"Gila, I do really appreciate all you have done to help me understand your country both prior to and during this trip.  Traveling to Israel has always been a lifelong dream for me, but it always felt a bit daunting given that it was my first time in the Mid-East and I would be solo traveler to the region. 

This is a country where I do not know the languages nor fully appreciate all the dynamics - and tensions - of a land not fully at peace.  Your guidance has helped me understand and appreciate its beauty and complexity.  Such learning and peace of mind that your service has provided me is something that is hard to put a price on, but it has made for a great trip for me."  Paul Kilman, The Kilman Advisory Group, Hartford, CT

"It is two weeks since we last saw you and said goodbye to Jerusalem. Even though we left Jerusalem, it has not left us.  This is due in great part to your skilled guiding that provided exactly the day we wished to experience.  We didn't want to rush but rather soak in the vistas.  Hezekiah's Tunnel was SO exciting, then it continued at the Pool of Siloam and as we walked on the Herodian Street.  This was without doubt the best day we spent."
Jackie and Kenn ("on our first cruise!") Chilliwack Mountain, British Columbia, Canada

"Just knocking on your door with a couple of follow up questions you said you would not mind answering.  But first let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed the one day Jerusalem tour.  I learned a lot, saw a lot, and felt right at home. You gave it your all from start to finish!" 
John Calderone, Valley Stream, New York

"We had a safe trip home, after some excitement getting out of Jerusalem to Eilat before the city shut down in the snow.  We so appreciated your expertise, congeniality, and willingness to pace yourself to our speed and interests.  We will recommend you to anyone we know who is headed to Jerusalem.  Thanks again for making our trip so perfect."
Lorna and Scott Wallick, West Chester, Ohio

"Gila, you were a special blessing to me during my trip to Israel.  I am thankful that you were our guide on a personal tour of the Old City and for the professional and extremely informative approach you took.  You provided me with a new insight into the history of Israel and the current culture.  I have shared time and time again things that you taught us, and I only regret that I was too timid to sing in the church when you gave me the opportunity."  Larry Waye, Executive Director Decator-Morgan County Entrepreneurial Center, Decator, Alabama
Email Gila for availability and price details. You will receive a link to a payment page where you can place a deposit to save the date of your tour.  Then we will correspond by email to determine your special interests so the tour includes what you want to see.  If you are staying near the Old City, Gila can come to your hotel to start the tour.  What you need to bring is a lot of energy, an open mind and a sense of adventure.

"I was so caught up in the pressures and pleasures of shepherding eight other people all over Israel that I didn't find time until now to thank you for the tour you gave us in Jerusalem.  It was not only great for them, but I myself got oriented to the archeology and layout of the Old City in a way I had never been before, so it was great for me too.  You were generous in letting the time spill over (into your own time), and your knowledge and good spirits blessed everybody.  Thanks!"  Julie Gilmour, Silver City, New Mexico

Possibilities to mix and match for your memorable Jerusalem tour:

Temple Mount tour

Let's walk the Old City ramparts

Start your tour by riding a camel on the Mount of Olives

Temple Mount tour  

Ramparts walk

Mount of Olives

Let's splash through Hezekiah's Tunnel

Tower of David

Robinson's Arch

Hezekiah's Tunnel  

Tower of David

Ophel Excavations

Absalom's Tomb

Garden of Gethsemane

Stations of the Cross

Absalom's Tomb     

Garden of Gethsemane

Stations of the Cross

  • Tour the Temple Mount in the footsteps of Abraham & Isaac, David & Solomon, Jesus and the disciples, Mohammed & Gabriel (early morning but not on Friday or Saturday)
  • 4 Quarters tour of the Old City
  • Tower of David by the Jaffa Gate (a history of Jerusalem with an unparalleled view over the city)
  • City of David with either Hezekiah's Tunnel or the dry Canaanite tunnel (Not for the claustrophobically challenged -- Need LOTS of physical stamina, for there are many, many steps uphill)
  • Ramparts walk: geography of Jerusalem and a peak into lots of Old City courtyards and rooftops
  • Southern wall archeological excavations (this requires mental stamina!)
  • Walk from the Mount of Olives down through the Kidron Valley (Bible-based tour which may start with a camel-ride!)
  • The Old City by Night
  • Walk around the Old City walls with Gila and choose your favorite angle for Gila's running commentary

"It was wonderful to have such a personalized introduction to Jerusalem's Old City and the Mount of Olives.  We could not have asked for a better start to our stay in the Eternal City.  Gila's flexibility and understanding of the various places meant that adjustments to the plan were easily made and Gila made us both feel most welcome in this very special city." 
Stephen and Sandra Binks, Perth, Western Australia

We aim for as much fun as possible on tour.  Here's Gila illustrating why the fig leaf was chosen by Adam and Eve when they realized they were naked in the Garden of Eden.  For more of the story, see Genesis 3.

Illustrating the fig leaf mentioned in Genesis 3

Photo:  Silvia Hess

Gila's fig leaf...

“You made every landmark, building, every site, every rock, every hill and road, every mountain or body of water come alive for us.  We re-lived the Old and New Testament through your words."  Barbara Manderbach, Burlington, New Jersey

"I am so thankful for how God has knitted you together.  With a steady calmness and patience, your abundant knowledge and experiences have made the pages of God's Word come alive -- in living color with smells and tastes and history and stories.  Big things got bigger, and 'small things' gained more detail."  Tampa Murphy, Hudson, Ohio

"Back in the UK now and just wanted to thank you for the excellence of your guiding with Gry and me last week.  The day in Jerusalem [Holy Saturday where we saw the Ceremony of the Holy Fire] with you was one of the highlights of my visit to Israel, and should friends of mine find themselves in need of a guide for the Holy Land I shall be sure to recommend you."  Xavier Villers, London, UK

"Following a friend's recommendation, I booked a personal half day tour with Gila which proved a fantastic opportunity not only to see the Mount of Olives, but also to learn something of the history and culture of Israel and her people.  Gila's knowledge of the area is incredible and by the time we parted I felt like I had learnt so much.  At no time did it feel like I was in a classroom, but instead, felt like I had been chatting to a friend.  If you get the chance -- book!"  Patti Taaffe, Sidney, Australia

Email Gila for availability and price details.  Once you decide the date, time and meeting place, you will receive a link to a payment page where you can place a deposit to save the date for your never-to-be-forgotten tour of Jerusalem.

"Thanks for a GREAT tour!  It was just wonderful to have an English-speaking tour guide with the vast knowledge that you have guiding me to sites I may never see again.  The Ramparts walk was so interesting with all the explanations of the wars, the way people live, and the current interconnected lives of the complex Israeli society.  It was wonderful !!  Be Blessed!"  Vic Paladini, Sierra Vista, AZ

"While preparing for our journey to Israel, we had mapped out all the sites we wanted to visit.  But it is Gila who really made every site (in Jerusalem plus Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, En Gedi, the Dead Sea and Masada) come alive as if we were taking a trip into the past.

The highlight of our trip was our unique baptism in the Jordan River by an Arabic speaking Christian congregation along with some Jewish Christian church members in attendance which Gila arranged.  We were blessed beyond expectations during our journey!"  Edward and Lisa Houstoun, Orlando, Florida

Read more about Gila and what tour leaders say about her style of guiding




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Holy Land Photography by Gila Yudkin