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Bethlehem >> Travel Guide 

Few places in the world are as important religiously as Bethlehem. 

A small city,  set amidst a pastoral landscape to the south of Jerusalem in Palestine, Bethlehem is considered the birthplace of King David and Jesus of Nazareth, hence sacred not only to the Christians but also to Jews and Muslims.

Apart from its religious significance,  the city of Bethlehem is a delightful cultural mosaic of the world where influences created by the glorious traditions of Canaanite, Byzantine Arab, Islamic, Persian, Crusader, Turkish and British can be experienced at every corner.

As the birthplace of Jesus Christ, the charming town of Bethlehem is held more dear in  the hearts of Christians than any other place on earth,  hence thrusting the small rose-colored town into the jaws of modern day tourism as the number one destination for christian pilgrimages. 

The Church of the Nativity, built by Constantine the Great in 330, stands in the centre of Bethlehem over a grotto or cave called the Holy Crypt, which according to Christian tradition is the place where Jesus was born.   This is perhaps the oldest existing Christian church in the world. Close to it is another grotto, where Jerome the Latin father spent thirty years of his life in translating the Scriptures into Latin.

Pleasant weather allows  tourists to visit Bethlehem year round, though Christmas remains by far the most popular time for tourists to visit. 

A Spring visit however,  is also highly recommended to witness the delightful transformation of Bethlehems'   landscape. As the wildflowers begin to bloom  the entire area is splashed with vibrant bursts of colour. It  is a beautiful experiece to see God working his magic through nature.  

Gazing out over the vista of the surrounding countryside, one feels as if time here has stood still.  The plateaus continue to be grazed by flocks of sheep and goats , led and protected by shepherds who still wear, as in the past, dark robes and typical headdress.  

Stunning views of Ancient vineyards, olive trees and tiny villages integrate with these idyllic pastures will inspire your imagination and transport you back to the lives of David and the Son of God.

 
Bethlehem's real charm can be found in the side streets away from the square and pilgrim sites. The town and souq are a heady mix of ancient and modern, Christian and Muslim.  Famous for its olive-wood handmade carvings, mother-of-pearl jewellery and its distinctive embroidery, Bethlehem offers many little tokens to take home with you.


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