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Nazareth >> Travel Guide

Nazareth, a small and insignificant village in the period of Jesus, is nowdays, a thriving modern city and an important regional economic center. Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel with a population of 60,000 mostly Christians and Moslems whom live side by side in harmony.

Described as the childhood home of Jesus in the New Testament, Nazareth is now a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical associations.
 
Nazareth is home to many centuries old churches, most of which are located in the city's Old Market. A stroll through Nazareth reveals a study in contrasting sights and flavours. Some 100 impressive stately homes from the period of Ottomans rule, known as the Old City Mansions, impart an air of grandeur to the city which complements the importance of the churches. Courtyards and lovingly-tended gardens provide islands of tranquillity amidst the everyday bustle.
 
As the place where may have Jesus grown up, studied and lived most of his life, Nazareth has for two thousand years been closely identified with Christianity and has attracted hundreds of millions of pilgrims from around the world. According to the New Testament, Nazareth was the home of Joseph and Mary and the site of the Annunciation, when Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel that she would have Jesus as her son. Nazareth is also where Jesus grew up from some point in his childhood after returning to Israel from Egypt until his public ministry began at age 30 (Mt 1:18-2:23).
 
Nazareth is also Israel’s largest Arab city and as such serves as a major cultural center. Over the past decade the historical Old City has been extensively renovated, preserving and restoring the architectural beauty and unique character of its narrow lanes and alleys. The combination of these three elements – history, culture and architecture – assures the Old City of Nazareth a place among the most beautiful historical destinations in the world.
 
In the past few years large public budgets have been invested to establish an appropriate infrastructure for tourists and pilgrims who visit Nazareth's sites yearly. The city’s many restaurants provide a full gastronomic experience in all types of Arab cuisine. Any visit to Nazareth must allow time to enjoy to the full the renowned and delicious local tradition of welcoming diners.
 
To make the city more attractive, it underwent a facelift that changed the appearance of the city more to the expectations of these visitors, including a reconstruction of the village in a way it might have looked in the days of Christ.
 
If you want to experience what the city looked like 2000 years ago, it might be interesting to checkout one of the many villages around in the horseshoe shaped Jezreel Valley. Less known but very interesting are the 19th century Venetian-style homes that have ceiling frescoes and red tile roofs. For those who come to find a stable with an ox, donkey and some sheep, the city might be a bit of a disappointment, but for those who interested in a lively and exotic Middle Eastern town, Nazareth has a lot to offer.


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