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Bethlehem - Palestine

Bethlehem – Israel

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Bithplace of Jesus

After already spending the day before sightseeing in Jerusalem, we planned in between a half day visit to Bethlehem. A city impossible to miss while visiting Israel, although I should say in this instance, Palestine since the city is already at the other side of the border. Yet not a country fully recognized by all nations and ever disputed with Israel. Anyway, geo-political and politics as overall is something I don’t like to discuss in my blog. My purpose here is to give you an overview on culture and architecture on the most easy, simple and reasonable way.

Although a cute small size city, it boats a huge history. Destroyed several times, rebuilt even since. From its origins as a Canaanite city around 1400BCE, to Israeli, Judean, Roman, Byzantine, Muslim, Crusader, Ottoman, Egyptian, British and Palestinian.

But for what people know it much better is for being the birthplace of Jesus. As such, this is pilgrim destination number one for the Christian world. Everywhere around the city is site of a biblical event, some of the major places you will find described below. You cannot miss those, they are the must does in the city; although nothing can top the Basilica of the Nativity for obvious reasons. Expect many groups of tourists in constant transit, while long queues build up to enter the Grotto of the Nativity. You need to be smart to have your perfect picture and what is now the trend, a selfie with the Silver Star. (more…)

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Read more about the article Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee – Israel
Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee - Israel

Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee – Israel

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Named after Roman Emperor Tiberius

Squeezing to the limit on an already extremely busy non-stop day we managed to somehow leave Nazareth with just enough time before the sunset and make a quick visit to Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee. And all thanks that we had a rental car we were able to do this as otherwise depending on public transportation would have been probably impossible to visit everything in just one day, unless visiting just the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth and nothing else and quickly leaving the city for the Sea of Galilee as unfortunately most of the organised tours do.

At only 40 kilometers to the north east of Nazareth it’s a quick and easy drive there. For us this was more of a “we must reach this place so we can say we’ve been there” just because of the Biblical means, rather than a properly pre-planned excursion, although a much realistic reason was our incredible shortage of spare time. I would have preferred to have had enough time to spend a whole day circling the entire Sea of Galilee, that’s for sure.

Although much of the ancient city was destroyed years back in natural disasters as earthquakes and flooding from the Sea of Galilee, the little that remained (apart from religious constructions) was razed in 1949 over objections of who owned the houses. Saying this, do not expect to see a beautiful city unfortunately. And even on the last years there has been a better track of preservation and reconstruction projects, there is not much from the original Roman, Crusaders, Ottoman and newer eras. Instead, ugly large hotels aligning the main promenade and some historical buildings behind. (more…)

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Read more about the article Nazareth – Israel
Nazareth - Israel

Nazareth – Israel

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Home of Joseph and Mary, the childhood home of Jesus

On our second stop for this tour around Israel, we visited the historic and biblical city of Nazareth combined with a short visit to Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River which are barely 40 kilometers farther to the east of Nazareth. 140 kilometers would be the total farthest distance to drive between Tel Aviv and the Sea of Galilee. We knew our overall time in Israel was meant to be very really compressed in visiting as many places as we could fit but thankfully we did something very good out of it by renting a car for the whole duration of our stay in Israel, which in turn, saved us from what would have been otherwise, countless hours spent waiting for trains, buses, and local buses to move around in the cities.

Nazareth was for us a first glimpse about how biblical the entire country is. Something we would experience everywhere from this day across every of the places we visited afterwards. It is literally on every turn we did, there was a place believed to be site of any of the events in the life of Jesus if talking about Christian Catholics, and the same for Jews and Muslims. In any case, this is pretty much the sense of coming to the “Holy Land” after all, and even if you believe or not, or whatever the religion you might believe it is well worth the trip.

Nazareth is a medium size city what makes it great for a day trip from wherever you are in Israel (of course unless you are by the farthest destinations as those around the Red Sea). But coming here from Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem of Bethlehem is what almost every tourist do. (more…)

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