Israel 2000 Visit » Israel » 6 Bethlehem  (8 Slides)     [Page 1 of 1] :: Jump To  
  Up one level Help
This is the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which is almost a suburb of modern Jerusalem to the south. They say this is the oldest standing church in the Middle East. While others were destroyed in the 7th century and beyond (including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre) this one remained. The Church of the Nativity was built in 385 A.D. Earlier, in 135 A.D., Hadrian had tried to discourage Christian pilgrims from visiting the site by building a shrine to the pagan god Adonis over the grotto that was believed to be the birth place of Jesus.
This is the main entrance to the Church of the Nativity. Originally it had a large high door but it was lowered more than once so that today you have to bend over to get in. It is sometimes referred to as the Door of Humility. One story is that it was lowered to prevent people from riding their horses into the church. If you look closely you can see the other blocked doors. Bethlehem is in the West Bank so these are Palestinian Authority guards that you see in this picture (near the door).
This is the inside of the Church of the Nativity. This area is actually off to the left of the main church nave which houses the ancient grotto of Jesus' traditional birth place.
This is the view you see when you exit the Church of the Nativity via it's low front door. Around the corner to the left the plaza opens up into the Bethlehem Square. This is where pilgrims gather on Christmas eve, although the 2000 intifada has put a damper on that.
  1 Church of the Nativity  
  2 Nativity Low Door  
  3 Nativity Colonnade  
  4 Bethlehem Square  
These are my parents pushing one of our children in a stroller through the Bethlehem streets on our way back to Jerusalem. The blue doors that you see on both sides of the street are shop entrances. If you look at the large image you'll see lots of Arabic signage here, mixed with a little English.
This ornate hotel (at least I think that is what it is) is just off the main street that goes through Bethlehem. Jerusalem is to the right. You can just see my dad coming in the left side of the picture pushing one of our children. I had the other stroller. There is some beautiful architecture in this part of the world. Notice the palm-like fluted pillars on the roof and round snowflake windows above the faux balconies on each end.
This is another shot of the same hotel a few seconds later. This is how we did a lot of our sight seeing - pushing strollers and carrying backpacks.
This shot was taken just a little further down the street from the ornate Hotel. In the distance is a district of Jerusalem. The trees in the middle are part of an olive grove.
  5 Bethlehem Street  
  6 Ornate Hotel  
  7 Ornate Hotel  
  8 Olive Grove  
Album last updated on 11/13/05 5:29 PM
Powered by JAlbum 5.2 and BluPlusPlus skin
© Charles Grebe
This slide show is dedicated to my mother who made possible our summer 2000 visit to Israel.