“Birthplace of Jesus: the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage route, Bethlehem” is a major Christian pilgrimage destination and the center of the Christmas celebration.
It holds the Church of the Nativity, which was built over cave that is considered to have been the birthplace of Jesus.
The designated area includes:
• The Church of the Nativity
• Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian Convents and churches
• Bell towers
• Terraced gardens
• Pilgrimage Route from Jerusalem (small portion)
Wojciech Fedoruk - December 2015
Although in December 2015 political situation in Palestine is not very stable and media report about safety threats, I decided to visit Bethlehem with my family (including two babies). From Damascus Gate in Jerusalem we took bus 231 directly to Bethlehem (8 NIS per adult) and after about an hour, without security controls, we reached this place. The Church of the Nativity is not very far (definitely in a walking distance) from the bus stop, but we also wanted to visit some other places in Palestine, so we took a taxi.
Although in ‘normal’ times the Church is crowded with tourists, two weeks before Christmas 2015 it was nearly empty. We did not need to stand in a queue and went directly to the basilica. Unfortunately, interior of the basilica is under overall renovation and all area is covered by scaffolding. Works are even in the Grotto, which however kept its unique character. Near the basilica I recommend visiting St. Catherine church and its courtyard.
We returned to Jerusalem on the same bus 231, this time with detailed control of Palestinian citizens (we, as foreigners, did not even show our passports). Overall, I liked Palestine very much, we did not feel unsecure in any moment and everybody was friendly (our taxi driver was really happy that foreigners visit Palestine and each time he mentioned foreign tourists he named them courteously ‘dear visitors’).
Clyde - September 2012
Very interesting to visit is the Church of the Nativity. However, the highligh of this WHS is that so many different or closely related faiths interact with one another in the main square and use the same place to worship the same God! Apart from the WHS though, the situation in the region is very sad and I won't be visiting Israel or Palestine again before the Disgraceful Walls are demolished.
Tony H. - July 2012
I visited in Bethlehem in January 2011 and of course the main site there is the Church of the Nativity. When I entered the church (through very small door) there was service still going and the priests (or monks) were singing and incense was smelling strongly. Because the priests were inside of the Grotto of the Nativity their singing was echoing mysteriously around the church. Very mystic atmosphere. After the priests left somewhere through a secret door I went to see the grotto myself. Smell of incense was very strong and I had hard time breathing. I watched some time how people kissed the spot where Jesus was born and then walked around the church complex. When big Russian tourist group arrived I decided to leave the church.
As this is the most holiest place in Christianity I think it deserved the World Heritage Site status. The Church of the Nativity itself isn't really spectacular looking and also inside it's quite simple but the history is the thing that matters here.
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Full name: Birthplace of Jesus: the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem
2012 - InscribedReasons for inscription
2012 - Advisory Body overruledInscription after an ICOMOS "not inscribed", by a 13 to 6 majority in a secret ballot
2012 - In DangerInscribed on an emergency basis
The site has 24 connections. Show all
- Mosaic art The church features golden mosaics covering the side walls, which are now largely decayed. ... a trap door in the modern floor which opens up to reveal a portion of the original mosaic floor (Wiki)
- Man-made Terraces terraced gardens
Religion and Belief
- Armenian Orthodox Church
- Christian Churches in non Christian countries Christians comprise less than 4% of Palestinians living within the borders of former Mandate Palestine today. They are approximately 4% of the West Bank population, less than 1% in Gaza, and nearly 10% of Israel's Palestinian population. (wiki)
- Christian Pilgrimage Sites
- Franciscans The site also includes Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian convents and churches....
- Greek Orthodox churches outside Greece The main Basilica of the Nativity is maintained by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
- Mentioned in the Bible It is first mentioned in ... the Bible as the place where the matriarch Rachel died and was buried "by the wayside" (Gen. 48:7). (wiki), and 38 times more
- Pilgrimage route
- Built in the 4th century The Church of the Nativity was originally constructed in 399AD (AB ev)