9 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Nazareth
Nazareth is a city in the Galilee, in the north of Israel. This is a holy Christian city, the third largest after Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Here, according to the Gospel, the Annunciation was made and the childhood and youth of Jesus Christ passed.
In Nazareth there is the grotto of the Annunciation, on which the largest in the Middle East Catholic Church of the Annunciation is built (in 1969), the picturesque Orthodox Church of the Archangel Gabriel and the Holy Spring above the Mary's Well, as well as many other Christian churches.
Nazareth is inhabited by Israeli Arabs, about 30% of whom are Christian Arabs of different faiths, and about 70% are Muslims, so Nazareth is the most Christian city in Israel, and also the only city in the country where Sunday is a day off..
1. Church of the Annunciation
The high Catholic church in the very center of the city was built on the site of the former temples of the Byzantine era and the Crusaders - this place has long attracted pilgrims. Inside the huge church complex is the cave of the Annunciation, in which, as Catholics believe, the Archangel Gabriel informed the Virgin Mary about the impending motherhood.
The high, 55-meter church with powerful high walls and a concrete dome looks like a fortress. Nevertheless, it is beautiful with unusual beauty - a combination of modern church design with the remains of old churches that are visible from the cave.
The church consists of two levels, the lower level includes the Grotto of the Annunciation, which many Christians consider to be remnants of the dwelling of the Virgin Mary and the place where the gospel event of the Annunciation took place. The upper church is decorated with mosaics donated by Catholic communities from around the world.
Of course, the main attraction of the Church of the Annunciation is a marble-lined Well located in a crypt in a separate porch. Above the Well there is the throne and the miraculous icon "The Annunciation at the Well" in a carved gilded oak iconostasis - the work of Russian icon painters. The bottom of the crypt is literally buried under a huge layer of coins from all over the world, which, according to the old tradition, are thrown by pilgrims and tourists.
Address: Annunciation Street, Town Center
2. Mary of Nazareth International Center
The center of the Virgin Mary is located at 15A on Casa Nova Str., Nazareth. It does not belong to any single Christian denomination, but it promotes Christian unity and is open to all those who share the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It is interesting that the center while being under construction was supported by members of the Jewish and Muslim communities along with 11 Christian churches.
The center, located directly opposite the Church of the Annunciation, allows you to take a virtual tour into the past of the city-cradle of Christianity - Nazareth, as well as to get a closer look at its present. There is also a chapel in which one can offer a prayer.
The Ecumenical Center for the Virgin Mary is the first in a series of similar projects around the world: one of them is already built in Lebanon, others are planned to be built in Mexico, Brazil, Poland, Belgium, France and the Philippines.
Address: 15A Casa Nova Street, Town Center
3. St. Joseph's Church
St. Joseph's Church is located next to the Church of the Annunciation and is part of the Catholic complex, which included a technical college, a school for children, a hospital and a house for pilgrims.
The church was built on the spot where according to legend there used to be a carpentry workshop of St. Joseph. It is believed that here was the house of Joseph. In the crypt (underground room under the altar) there are ancient cisterns, mosaics, caves and barns of Nazareth of the 1st and 2nd centuries BC.
The Crusaders built this church in the XII century on the foundation of the church of Byzantine times. After the Arab invasion of the XIII century the place remained in ruins for several hundred years. In 1754 the place was acquired by the Franciscans and they built here a chapel of St. Joseph.
In the crypt under the altar is the cave of the carpenter Joseph. It is impossible to descend into it, but its entrance is highlighted, which makes it possible to see the cave inside as well.
Address: Annunciation Street, Town Center
4. Salesian Monastery & Church of Jesus the Adolescent
One of the largest and most beautiful churches in Nazareth The Salesian Church of Jesus the Adolescent is located on the highest point of Nazareth on Mount Nabi Sain in the western part of the city and is visible from afar. At the beginning of the last century it was an orphanage, today there is a monastery and a school.
The Salesian Church of Jesus the Adolescent of the largest and most beautiful churches in Nazareth. On the roof of the church stands an impressive statue of the Jesus.
Salesian priests took care of orphans in Nazareth from the end of the 19th century. And in 1902, on the top of the Nabi Sain hill, near the place where the Salesian church is located today, a huge Orphanage was founded. In 1905 a French theologian named Caron arrived in Nazareth from Versailles. He donated a large sum of money to build a Salesian church near the orphanage.
The church was designed by French architect Lucia Gautier. All stained glass windows have the color of the French flag and were made at Versailles in France. The church was opened in 1924.
Address: Salesian Street, Nazareth
5. Synagogue Church
Snuggled away in Nazareth's market district is the Synagogue Church, which belongs to the Greek Catholic Melkite community. To the left of the doorway is a door leading down into the synagogue, which Jesus is said to have attended as an adolescent. Despite this traditional belief, archaeological evidence points to the synagogue probably dating from the 6th century AD, at the earliest. The church itself was built in 1887 and has a rather grand dome sided by two bell towers.
Location: Market district, Town Center
6. Ancient Bath House
The Roman Bath, opened in Nazareth, is one of the oldest, largest, and well-preserved in the world. The bath was built at least 100 years BC. It is not by chance that the bath was located near Mary's Well, which until the end of the 19th century served as the main supplier of water in Nazareth. In the absence of nearby rivers, it is quite natural that the city center was not far from the water source. And for the bath - it was just a strategic location.
Today on the roof of the bath there is a gift shop. Your visit should be organized in advance.
Address: Church Square, Town Center
7. Mensa Christi Church
Mensa Christie (Table of Christ) is a small Franciscan church in Nazareth. The main relic is a huge stone slab that, according to legend, served as a table for a meal when the resurrected Christ appeared to his disciples. The size of the stone is 3.6x2.7x9 meters. Now it is in the altar of the temple. The wall behind the stone is decorated with a painting depicting the repast of Christ with the disciples.
The chapel on this site was built in the 17th century. A stream of pilgrims rushed to it. Many chipped pieces of stone from the slab, so it was protected by an iron fence. However, in 1675 Muslims ordered to remove the fence. In 1861 the chapel was repaired, and a temple was opened here. In 2000, as part of a large-scale government project to restore cultural heritage in Nazareth, the dome of the church was repaired and the frescoes were restored.
The road to the temple goes along a steep narrow street in a residential area, which can only be reached on foot. As a rule, the temple is closed, but the keys to it are kept in the family living next door, and can be provided to tourists upon request.
Location: Town Center
8. Cana (Kfar Kanna)
Cana of Galilee is a small Arab village on the way from Nazareth to Tiberias, known from the Bible where there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee and where Jesus performed his first miracle: turning water into wine.
In the center of Caen is the Franciscan church, consecrated in 1883. Local tradition says that the church was built on the spot where the miracle occurred. Visitors usually see an old jar here, which is considered one of the six vessels in which water has been replaced.
There is also a temple here which Catholics call the “Church of the Lord’s wedding” and believe that the marriage concluded in this temple is the happiest and most reliable.
Other interesting sights are the Orthodox Greek Church of St. George the Victorious, and the Greek Catholic Church of St. Bartholomew, a disciple of Jesus, who was native of Cana.
Location: 8 kilometers northeast of Nazareth