Retrace the Wise Men’s Legendary Journey to Bethlehem On the Next Mungo Park Adventure

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 17, 1997 — In the spirit of Christmas, the Mungo Park Ô online adventure magazine ( , published by the Microsoft® Expedia
.com travel service, sets out on a quest to find modern-day answers to some of the most compelling questions surrounding the legendary wise men thought to have visited the manger in Bethlehem. Were there truly three wise men? Where did they come from? When did they arrive in Bethlehem?

Now through Dec. 25, virtual explorers can retrace the footsteps of the Magi from what was once Persia to modern Bethlehem and explore some of the legends of the Nativity on this month’s holiday adventure. The journey culminates on Christmas Eve with a live NetShow Ô server-based broadcast of midnight Mass in Bethlehem.

Leading the expedition will be Dr. Paul William Roberts, scholar, expert in the history of the Magi, and author of
“In Search of the Birth of Jesus: The Real Journey of the Magi”
and several other provocative works of historical exploration. Roberts will provide daily dispatches to ( that will be combined with constant updates from the journey in the form of text, images, audio and video clips.

“Mungo Park has given me a unique opportunity to share our discoveries about the Magi as they happen with a global Internet audience,”
Roberts said.
“Those who follow this expedition will never see Christmas in quite the same way again but will appreciate it far more.”

Re-Creating the Journey of the Wise Men

Web surfers can follow Roberts and the Mungo Park field team as they explore the Tomb of the Magi at Saveh, Iran, described by Marco Polo in his
written in the 13th century. They will then visit the Cala Ataperistan, or Castle of the Fire Worshippers, believed to be the place where the Magi legend was originally told to Marco Polo. Working with Iranian scholars, the team will attempt to verify the theory that this is the same castle about which Marco Polo wrote.

Another stop includes Maluula, one of the only places in the world where Jesus’ own language, Aramaic, is still spoken. Crossing Jordan into Israel, the team will visit the mountainous Qumran site where the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Christian manuscripts, were unearthed. When team members reach Jerusalem, they’ll retrace the final stretch of the Magi’s odyssey to Bethlehem.

Midnight Mass Live From Bethlehem and Chat With Roberts

The Magi expedition will climax with a free, live NetShow-based broadcast with streaming sound and video (connect-time charges may apply) of the midnight Mass from St. Catherine’s Church in Bethlehem. This Mass is considered one of the world’s prominent religious ceremonies and will be broadcast from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Pacific time (11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. in Bethlehem), with a brief interval at 2 p.m. Pacific time for a live audio chat with Roberts.

These features will also appear on Mungo Park this month:

  • Media Trip: Myth of the Manger. Explore the legend of the Nativity – is it gospel truth, or just a story? Roberts takes a cyber-look at the birth of Jesus. A Fra Angelico painting serves as a portal to the truth in this provocative, interactive multimedia feature.

  • Sixteen Years in Yemen. Experience what life was like for a British officer stationed in Yemen for 16 years. Aidan Hartley, a former Reuters correspondent based in Africa and a writer for Travel & Leisure and Esquire, follows his father’s footsteps in Yemen. In the process, he stumbles on the truth about the strange fate of his father’s fellow officer and best friend.

  • Ancient Art of Henna Tattoos. Why have Middle Eastern women decorated their hands and feet for centuries with intricate henna tattoos? Writer and photographer Amanda Jones submits herself to the henna ritual to find out.

  • In Search of the Queen of Sheba. Sheba was the seducer of Israel’s King Solomon. Who was she, and why has she remained alive in the popular consciousness? Mary Roach, contributing editor to Vogue and Health, turns to the Internet to trace Sheba’s journey from levelheaded ruler to contemporary symbol of chic.

  • Season’s Greetings From Mungo Park. Choose from a festive collection of Mungo Park postcards that can be sent electronically to friends around the world.

From the bottom of the deepest gorge in Africa to the orbiting Russian space station Mir, Mungo Park has explored the world, bringing virtual adventure to the Internet. Ever seeking to push the envelope, and in the true spirit of the magazine’s namesake, Mungo Park has accomplished what no other webzine has by proving that video and audio can be broadcast to the Internet live from anywhere on the planet. After bringing more than a dozen live expeditions to the Internet, on a final expedition Mungo Park will explore Chile. Join us next month for the last great Mungo Park adventure.

Beginning in February, Web surfers can continue to experience all the Mungo Park

expeditions at ( and in the Resources section of the Microsoft travel planning service at ( . Should a particular Mungo Park adventure capture a cybertraveler’s fancy, a quick click of the mouse will allow them to book their own adventure through

Mungo Park is available on the World Wide Web and features an interactive expedition program, live Internet chats, a famous-author series, and regular columns from well-known journalists. Named for the famous 18th-century Scottish explorer who discovered the Niger

River and mysteriously disappeared while navigating its waters, Mungo Park is about exploring the world 3/4 firsthand and online.

Mungo Park is accessible free (connect-time charges may apply) on the Internet and on MSN Ô, The Microsoft Network. To see Mungo Park, users need World Wide Web access; a 28.8Kbps or faster modem is recommended. Mungo Park is best experienced with Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 or higher, or Netscape Navigator 3.0 or higher. Both the Macintosh platform and the Windows Ò operating system are supported.

The Microsoft online travel planning service ( is part of the Microsoft Expedia family of travel and mapping products and services. These include the Microsoft Expedia Streets 98, Expedia Streets Deluxe 98 and Trip Planner 98 CD-ROMs and Mungo Park, an online magazine dedicated to the spirit of adventure in travel ( .

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