Nazareth, the site of the Miracle of the Annunciation, is the largest Arab city in Israel with a population of 60,000 - half Christians and half Moslems - living together in harmonious coexistence. Its geographic location, with Cana of the Wedding Feast and Sepphoris (Tzippori) just next door, make it a perfect base from which to tour the rest of the Lower Galilee. Picturesque red roofs and white stone churches ramble haphazardly down the slopes of this ancient Galilean hillside, the summit of which overlooks the entire Jezreel Valley. Nazareth, one of the most important Christian holy sites in the world, has always attracted pilgrims.
The return of the Holy Family from Egypt is chronicled in Matthew 2.23 "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He (Jesus) shall be called a Nazarene. And indeed it was in Nazareth that Jesus lived for the major part of His life. The Church of St. Joseph’s Carpentry contains ruins of 1st-century Nazareth -traditionally the original workshop of Joseph and home of the Holy Family.
· The Basilica of the Annunciation and Church of St. Joseph. The outstanding highlight of Nazareth is the impressive Basilica of the Annunciation, whose imposing dome dominates the skyline. The modern two story basilica, erected over the original Byzantine and the later Crusader church (remains of which can still be seen), marks the traditional Roman Catholic site of the Annunciation. The interior enshrines the sunken Grotto of the Annunciation, the actual remains of Mary’s home. The crowning glory, the inside of the dome (cupola), in the shape of an inverted rose, provides the natural light source for the entire structure. A small museum houses intriguing Crusader relics found on the site. A charming garden and courtyard connects to the Church of St. Joseph’s Carpentry. Open 8.30 am - 11.45 am, 2 pm - 4.45 pm Casa Nova St. Tel. 06-6572501,
· Source of Mary’s Well - St. Gabriel Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation The ancient stones within this ornate 17th century church, which remain from three
much earlier churches, lend authenticity to the 1st-century spring in the crypt that is the source of Mary’s Well, and which is connected by an underground aqueduct to the site of the well itself a few hundred meters away. Open 8.30 am - 5.30 pm Mary’s Well Sq. Tel. 06-6576437, 6554914
· Site of the ancient synagogue & Greek Catholic Church. This is the site of the ancient synagogue where Jesus preached as a young man. Jewish symbols and inscriptions were discovered here. Adjacent to it stands the Greek Catholic Church. if the church is closed, please, ring the hell beside the door.
Open Mon. - Sat. 8 am - 12 pm, Winter 2 pm - 5pm, Summer 2 pm - 6 pm, Sun. closed. Old Market St. Tel. 06-6568488,
· Salesian Church of Jesus as an Adolescent
It is afine example of modern Gothic architecture. Open 8.30 am - 11.45 am, 2 pm - 5 pm. Salesian St., Tel. 06-6468954,
· Mensa Christi (Jesus’ Table). This church houses a large limestone rock scored with graffiti by countless pilgrims throughout the ages (admission only with permission of the Church of the Annunciation),
· Notre Dame de l’Efroi (Chapel of Fright)
1 km outside the city, en route to the Mount of the Precipice, this monastery and church marks the site where Mary, upon hearing that the populace wanted to throw Jesus into the abyss, was overcome with fear.
· The Coptic Church. Erected by the small Coptic community of Nazareth in 1952. Open 8.30 am - 5pm. Coptic St. Tel. 06.6565554,
· The Anglican Church (Jesus’ Church)
Built in the shape of the cross, this was the second Anglican church to be built in the the Holy Land. It was erected at the request of English sailors, and later pledged by King Edward VII when he visited Nazareth in 1862. It was completed in 1871.
Open 8am - 12.30 pm, 4pm - 6pm. Casa Nova St.. Tel. 06-6456348,
· The Maronite Church. This church was completed in 1774, and is also known as the Church of St. Anthony. Open Sun. 8 am-noon, Sat. by appointment. No. 21 403rd St. Tel. 06-6554256,
MONASTERIES & CONVENTS
· Sisters of the Annunciation noted for religious icons) No. 3107 St. Tel. 06-65 76890
· Sisters of Nazareth 1st-century excavations, including Herodian Tomb by appointment only). Casa Nova St. Tel. 06-6554304
· Carmelite Convent Mariam Bawarbi St. Tel. 06-6573S53
· Little Brothers of Jesus Paulus VI St. Tel. 06-6573188
· Salesian Sisters 132 Salesian St. Tel. 06-6453297
· St. Claire’s Convent 203 St. Tel. 06-6571977,
· The White Mosque, Called El Abyad in Arabic, this was the first mosque to be built in Nazareth, in 1812. Open daily 9 am - 5 pm Old Market St. Tel. 06-6569061,
· El Salam Mosque A modern, impressive mosque built in the 1960s. Paulus VI St.,
For information on opening hours of all sites and for any other assistance, please contact the Tourist Office. 1601 Casa Nova St., P.O.B. 58, Tel. 06-6573003, Fax 06-6S73078 Open Mon. -Fri. 8.30 am - 5 pm; Sat. 8.30 am -2 pm. Closed on Sunday.