Bethlehem, is located at about 9km south of Jerusalem and is celebrated by billions of Christians all over the world as the birthplace of Jesus Christ. In Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus in a cave normally used for animals. Here the local shepherds came to worship the baby, and here the Three Wise Men from the east came to pay homage and present their gifts. Map. Click here for city maps.
Thousand years before the birth of Christ, Bethlehem was the birthplace of David, Israel’s second king. Here David was anointed as king by the prophet Samuel after being brought in from tending his father’s sheep.
When you visit the city, you will see that the majority of the residents are Arabs and Muslims. It’s population and visitors to this city is a mixture various cultures and the people who are Christians, Bedouin, Arabs, Muslims, tourists and even Jews.
In and around Bethlehem, you can visit the following places:
- Church of the Nativity
- Grotto of the Nativity
- St Jerome’s Cave
- Church of St Catherine of Alexandria
- Milk Grotto
- Shepherds’ Field
- Tomb of Rachel
- Field of Boaz
- Herod’s Tomb
More articles about Bethlehem
- Bethlehem - Bethlehem, is located at about 9km south of Jerusalem and is celebrated by billions of Christians all over the world as the birthplace of Jesus Christ. In Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus in a cave normally used for animals. Here the local shepherds came to worship the baby, and here the Three Wise Men from the east came to pay homage and present their gifts
- Mar Saba Monastery - The Greek Orthodox Mar Saba Monastery in the Judean Desert east of Bethlehem seems to hang precariously from the walls of the Kidron Valley. But it is as sturdy as the faith it represents: it was built some 1,500 years ago, and is one of the oldest still-inhabited monasteries in the world.
- St. Theodosius Monastery - St. Theodosius Monastery, founded in 476, is about 12 km east of Bethlehem. This monastery was destroyed during the Persian invasion. The building that stands today was constructed by the Greek Orthodox Church and incorporates the remains of an old Crusader building and is inhabited by a dozen Greek Monks.
- The Tour from Hell - This tour was the tour from hell ... for me. For the group absolutely not, because they had loads of fun, costing me my hair of course. We are talking about a tour, which shows what Israel actually is, a mixture of culture, adventure, exploration and Israeli sights in all the major touristic centers of Israel. This article is part of the Tour Guide Diaries September 2016.
- The Power of the Milk Grotto - A few yards along Milk Grotto Street, on the south side, is the Franciscan Chapel where tradition has it that the Holy Family sheltered on the way to Egypt. It is said that while Mary was breast-feeding the baby Jesus, some of the milk fell on the floor. This caused the rock to crumble.
- In the Footsteps of the Virgin Mary - Experience a spiritual journey of personal discovery and reaffirmation while tracing the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, within the Biblical landscape in which she lived, rejoiced and sorrowed. This is not a tour, but a reference for All Who Seeks.
- Deir Rafat Monastery - Deir Rafat also known as the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Palestine and of the Holy Land, is a Catholic monastery in central Israel. Located to the north-west of Beit Shemesh, between Givat Shemesh and kibbutz Tzora to the south and Kfar Uria to the north, it falls under the jurisdiction of Mateh Yehuda Regional Council.
- Church of St Catherine of Alexandria - The midnight Mass beamed from Bethlehem to television viewers worldwide on Christmas Eve is celebrated in the Church of St Catherine of Alexandria. This 19th-century church adjoins the 6th-century Church of the Nativity, built over the cave where Jesus was born.
- Kathisma – A forgotten and mysterious Gem - The Kathisma church was one of the Holy Land’s biggest churches and the first of them dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Kathisma church was built around a rock where early Christian tradition says that the pregnant Mary rested while on her way with Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. An early tradition says a miraculous spring appeared there to quench Mary’s thirst, and a 6th-century account tells of pilgrims drinking sweet water at the site.
- Shepherd’s Field - Caves where shepherds “kept watch over their flock” still abound in the area east of Bethlehem. Here, the Gospel of Luke tells us, an angel announced the birth of Jesus. The angel’s good news was not given to the noble or pious, but to workers with a low reputation.
- Jacir Palace in Bethlehem – Romantic Palace Hotel - Originally posted on Shalom Israel:
The original Jacir Palace Hotel If there is one hotel, I would call beautiful, it’s the Jacir Palace Hotel in Bethlehem, Israel. Don’t believe me? Look at the photo’s. The Jacir Palace Hotel is the largest hotel in Bethlehem in the central West Bank. The building’s original design was based…
- Summery of the Mary’s Footsteps in the Holy Land - Summary of the pilgrimage for the Virgin Mary (in the footsteps of Virgin Mary).
- Orthodox Services in Jerusalem AND Bethlehem - An overview of the Orthodox religious services at the various churches in Jerusalem and Bethlehem
- Church of the Nativity - The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is a major Christian holy site, as it marks the traditional place of Christ's birth. It is also one of the oldest surviving Christian churches.
- Field of Boaz - The romantic story of the Moabite woman Ruth, who is remembered for one of the most celebrated statements of devotion in the Old Testament, is linked to a field near Bethlehem, forefather of Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus Christ.
- St. Jerome’s Chapel - From a cave beneath the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem came the most enduring version of the Bible ever translated. In this underground study — pleasantly cool in summer but chilly in winter — St Jerome spent 30 years translating the Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin.
- Mount Temptation - After being baptized by John the Baptist Jesus retreated to the wilderness to meditate and fast, the mountain on which Jesus is believed to have spent the 40 days and 40 nights of spiritual contemplation is called the Mount of Temptation. The Mount of Temptation is also known as Mount Quarantania and Jabel Quruntul from the Latin word for forty in reference to the forty days Jesus fasted on the mountain.
- Solomon’s Pools - 5 km southwest of Bethlehem, a turn off to the east on the road to Hebron leads to an Ottoman Fort and a three large water reservoirs, partly excavated from the rock and partly built, which were used to collect spring and rain water from the surrounding valleys to be channeled to Jerusalem, and is still in use nowadays by the local inhabitants only.
- Herodium - Herodium is 3 miles southeast of Bethlehem and 8 miles south of Jerusalem. Its summit is 2,460 feet above sea level. Herod built or re-built eleven fortresses. This one he constructed on the location of his victory over Antigonus in 40 BC. Constructed over a small pre-existing hill, the Herodium was a fortress for Herod to quickly flee to from Jerusalem and a luxurious palace for his enjoyment.
- Slaughter of the Innocents - The Massacre of the Innocents is the biblical recount of infanticide by Herod the Great, the Roman-appointed King of the Jews. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Herod ordered the execution of all young male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem, so as to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews whose birth had been announced to him by the Magi.
- Milk Grotto - The Milk Grotto is a serene grotto only a few minutes' walk from Manger Square in Bethlehem. This grotto, with a Franciscan chapel built above it, is considered sacred because tradition has it that the Holy Family took refuge here during the Slaughter of the Innocents, before their flight into Egypt.
- Omer Mosque - The modest Omar Mosque is was built in the 12th century directly across from the main entrance of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The mosque is named for the 7th-century caliph Omar, whose actions after his takeover of Jerusalem ensured the Church of Holy Sepulchre remained open to Christian worship.
- Catholic Church of St. Catherine - The Church of St. Catherine is a Catholic church and Franciscan monastery connected to the mostly Orthodox Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The church is said to be built on the site of Christ's appearance to St. Catherine of Alexandria and his prediction of her martyrdom (c.310 AD).
- Al-Khader Church - The Al-Khader church is a Palestinian town in the Bethlehem Governorate in the south-central West Bank. It is located 5 kilometers west of Bethlehem. The area around al-Khader is marked by vineyards, and olive and fig trees. The site of al-Khader was first inhabited by the Canaanites. In 1953, five arrowheads of javelins dating from the 11th century BCE, were discovered in al-Khader with Canaanite inscriptions.
- Monastery of St. Elias - A 12th century Greek-Orthodox monastery, on the side of the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Built over the ruins of a Byzantine church, it serviced the pilgrimage route to Bethlehem.
- Bethlehem’s Manger Square - The site of Christ's birth may well have been a cave, much like the cave in which his body was buried, or a stable, among the animals. In either case, it was a place provided by others. He entered the world as he left it, without wealth or status.
- Rachel’s Tomb - The tomb of the Biblical matriarch Rachel is located at the northern entrance of Bethlehem, around 300 meters up the road from Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood. The site is identified as the burial place of Jacob’s wife, Rachel. According to the Bible, Rachel was buried on the Bethlehem road: "And Rachel died, and was buried on the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day" (Genesis 35:19-20).