Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route

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Bethlehem, Israel

Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route Bethlehem Reviews

Vikram Vikram
312 reviews
Jesus was born here. Do you need any other reason in the world to visit?! Nov 19, 2016
I write this review 3 months after visiting what is probably one of the most sacred places I've ever visited, but there's noise that keeps getting in the way of my memory: noise of an awful tour guide and the general noise of tourists visiting, no doubt compounded thanks to the maintenance work at the moment.

As the title states, this is where Jesus was born. There's almost been one temple or another that's stood here through the years, the amalgamation of cultures depicted in one of the doors in the courtyard.

We enter through one door - which was awfully crowded that takes you straight down to a grotto like place that has the only ever photo of the mother breastfeeding infant Jesus.

From here, it's a long queue to get to St. Catherine's Church. Plus, doesn't help that there are loads of tourists from various tour operators that keep pushing and shovelling in different directions.

Unfortunately, due to our late arrival, more than expected crowds and several parts of the temple cordoned off for tourists, we were unable to see the place - the manger where Jesus was born.

There's a courtyard which nicely showcases the various cultures through the centuries that have shaped this iconic church of the world's largest religion.

All in all, despite everything, it's a must-visit. I'd say it's by far one of the biggest draws to even want to visit Israel!
Entrance to the church
First part was taking the staircas…
People in the queue to see the pho…
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Zagnut66 says:
No selfie in front of the manger? Blasphemy!
Posted on: Mar 20, 2017
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camwilde camwilde
163 reviews
Birthplace of Jesus Christ Oct 26, 2012
My wife and I took a cab to tour Bethlehem. Going this route is a completely different experience than going on a tour.

First, this is in Palestinian territory and it wasn't at all scary like I originally thought. The cab driver got us through the checkpoints quickly.

He then stopped at a nativity store where you could buy beautiful but very expensive olive wood nativity sets. You can find smaller sets for a lot cheaper in Jerusalem. I guess they figure that a set from Bethlehem would mean more. My wife wanted a faceless set which was less expensive.

We then headed to the Church of the Nativity. The Church was built by Constantine and his mother over the Cave where it was said Jesus was born.

Once you enter the Church, you immediately see a huge line to go down into the cave. Our taxi driver took us to the guards and told us we could go down immediately (thus essentially cutting, which we felt bad about). Talking later to another Taxi driver, I guess they all use this trick. Once in the Cave, there are some markers where the supposed exact birth took place, including a Grotto and a Chapel.

We also walked around the old town of Jerusalem and our Taxi driver got us a Kabob from a friend.

One warning about Taxi drivers who give tours. No matter how much you try and tip them, they will always ask for more (at least that is our experience).
Night View of the Church of the Na…
Are where Christ is said to be born
Inside the Church of the Nativity
Inside the Church of the Nativity

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