Recommended Attractions to See in Bethlehem

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One of the sights to see in Bethlehem is the Church of the Nativity which was built over the Grotto of the Nativity by Constantine in 325 A.D. and was destroyed and rebuilt in the 6th century. In the 11th century it was renovated by the Crusaders and it is the oldest Church in the Holy Land which is still in use today.

The Palestinian Heritage Center in Bethlehem is a wonderful place to experience and here you can buy traditional embroidery and learn about Palestinian Folklore.

The Church of St. Catherine is best known as the venue where the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem holds the midnight mass on Christmas Eve each year. This event is televised worldwide and the mass is attended by hundreds of Christians who come from near and far to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Mar Saba Monastery was founded in the 5th century. This Greek Orthodox monastery is considered to be the oldest and one of the strictest in the Holy Land.

There are tours which take tourists to visit the cave where Jesus was born then to the Milk Grotto where Mary fed her son and they stop to view the Shepherd Field, see the Inn of the Good Samaritan and take in breathtaking views of the Judean Desert.

To the west of Manger Road in Bethlehem near St. Joseph's Church is David's Well which is a rock-cut cistern. Excavations are being carried out in the area surrounding it.

The life of Bethlehem centers on Manger Square which now serves as a parking lot. Round about the square are cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops, a police station and a tourist information office and travel agency. On the west side of the square is the modern Mosque of Omar, the east side is dominated by the Church of the Nativity.

From Manger Square in Bethlehem Paul VI Street runs west to Market Square and beyond this to the commercial districts of the town.

The Milk Grotto - from the square in front of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem a street runs southeast between houses and the Greek Monastery. After a five minute walk you reach the Milk Grotto which is a cave that has been converted into a chapel. It is said that the Holy Family hid here before their flight to
Egypt and according to legend a drop of Mary's milk fell on the floor of the cave and whitened the stone.

Northwest of the Mosque of Omar is the Museum of Old Bethlehem which opened in 1972. Here one can see a collection of furniture, costumes, crafts and documents which present a vivid picture of 19th century Bethlehem.

The surrounding areas are interesting as well such as southeast of Bethlehem is the village of Beit Sahur. Here there is a field that is said to be the one in which Boaz saw Ruth gleaning the ears of corn. There is also the Shepherds' Field in which the angels announced the birth of Jesus in the Book of Luke.

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