The city of Nazareth is located between Haifa and the Sea of Galilee in a valley on a hill. Nazareth is known as the city of Jesus Christ. The Savior was born in Bethlehem but his parents came from Nazareth and Jesus lived in Nazareth, where like his father he worked as a carpenter. Because of this, the city is one of the most important places on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Today's Nazareth and its suburbs have around 100,000 inhabitants. Due to the basin location, the traffic in Nazareth is always chaotic and you can be happy if you can find a parking space in the center. The old town is small, narrow and has a Muslim character. Most of the Jews live in the suburbs.
Since Nazareth is such an important city for Christians, almost all denominations have built a church here. The most famous church is the Catholic Annunciation Basilica. The lovely Greek Orthodox Church is very close to the well (Mary's Well), from which Mary used to fetch water. The Orthodox Church believes that the angel Gabriel appeared to her here. Most of the other churches are rather small and not particularly old. For those who are not interested in Christian pilgrimage sites, Nazareth is not a worthwhile travel destination. M
The Basilica of the Annunciation is the largest church in Nazareth and the city's most famous landmark. According to Christian history, Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth when the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would bring the Messiah into the world. This proclamation is said to have taken place precisely in this place. The first church at this point was commissioned by Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine had churches built in all holy places in Judea. Saint Helena of Constantinople traveled to Israel herself and found the tomb of Jesus and his cross. The Church of Helena was built around the year 326.
The Islamic invaders destroyed this church around the year 640. The crusades were undertaken from 1099 to reverse the outrage at the holy places of Christianity. The crusaders conquered the Holy Land and rebuilt the destroyed churches. The last Crusader city of Acre was conquered by the Mamluks in 1291, who in turn destroyed the Annunciation Basilica.
The Ottomans allowed the Franciscans to rebuild the church around 1620. This church was demolished in 1955 to build a larger basilica. The current building was completed in 1969 by the Italian architect Giovanni Muzio. The historical remains of the old town of Nazareth were built over with a concrete bridge, which should be torn down. The Annunciation Basilica is surrounded by a wall on which representations of Mary from all over the world are shown. M
The Annunciation Grotto is now in the Annunciation Basilica. The small cave was originally behind the house of Mary and Joseph. Here Mary the Archangel Gabriel appeared to announce the impending pregnancy. The Annunciation Grotto is a brightly lit area with an altar in an otherwise very dark church. The reinforced concrete interior contrasts with the light natural stone of the remains of the walls of earlier churches. The history of this place can be read in the huge Basilica of the Annunciation, because the new building hovers over the Annunciation grotto like a dark night sky. M
The market district is well worth seeing in the old town of Nazareth. Many narrow covered streets make the area to the west and north of the Annunciation Basilica into an oriental bazaar. Here you can find a wide range of shops and products. There are numerous restaurants and cafes around the market district. If you follow Al-Bishara Street to the north, you will come to the Maria Fountain with the Greek Orthodox Church on Ha-Knesiya Square. M