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Bethlehem

Date of my visit: 22nd February 2014

 

On Saturday morning my alarm yet again buzzed at 6am. After visiting Jerusalem and the Dead Sea two days ago it was now time to visit another holy place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem is situated on the West Bank and is under control of the Palestinian authority. After picking up more visitors in Jerusalem our mini-bus crossed the security barrier and around 9am I was in the city centre of Bethlehem. Being the birthplace of Jesus this is of course a must visit for tourists in this region and outside the Church of Nativity there were indeed plenty of tourists. The structure of the site of the Church of the Nativity is actually a combination of two churches and a crypt beneath—the Grotto of the Nativity- where tradition states that Jesus was born. There was a ceremony inside the Greek-orthodox part of the church and we had to wait almost 45 minutes before going in down to the Grotto. The Grotto of the Nativity, an underground cave located beneath the basilica, enshrines the site where Jesus is said to have been born. The exact spot is marked beneath an altar by a 14-pointed silver star set into the marble floor and surrounded by silver lamps Another fascinating moment on this trip! From the church our Palestinian guide then took us via bus to the Shepherd's field, the fields with the shepherds who saw the Star of Nativity. Plenty of interesting things to see here as well. We then returned to Jerusalem and I was out in a taxi back to Tel Aviv. My driver was Arab and gave me a very interesting lesson about the Israel/Palestine conflict etc.

 

betlehem, centrum

Bethlehem, city centre

 

betlehem, vy

View of Bethlehem

 

betlehem, vy2

View of the West Bank

 

betlehem, vy3

View of the West Bank

 

födelsekyrkan2

Church of Nativity

 

födelsekyrkan3

Church of Nativity

 

födelsekyrkan, ingång

Entrance to the church (Greek-orthodox part)

 

födelsekyrkan

A long queue...

 

orthodox part

Greek-orthodox part of the church

 

födelsekyrkan, armenian part

Armenian part of the church

 

födelsekyrkan, armenian part2

Armenian part of the church

 

födelsekyrkan, katoliker

Catholic part of the church

 

jesus birthplace

Birthplace of Jesus!

 

födelsekyrkan4         milk grotto

Church of Nativity                                                    Milk Grotto

 

milk grotto2

Inside Milk Grotto

 

milk grotto3

Inside Milk Grotto

 

shepherds field

Shepherd´s field

 

shepherds field2

Remains of an old church

 

shepherds field, cave

Cave, Shepherd´s field

 

shepherds field, cave2

Cave, Shepherd´s field

 

shepherds field4

Church, Shepherd´s field