Nazareth Israel is best known as the childhood home of Jesus and is consequently a popular destination for Christian pilgrims, as well as anyone interested in viewing famous sights such as Mary's Well, Joseph's workshop, the Basilica of the Annunciation, and many other locations of archaeological and religious importance. Nazareth Israel is also the largest Arab city in the country, with the majority of its inhabitants Muslim and a significant minority of Arab Christians who manage to coexist relatively peacefully. With beautiful churches as well as mosques, the narrow alleys of the Old Town have been carefully restored, making it a visual feast to tour Nazareth.
Visitors can easily tour Nazareth on foot, as the Old City is quite compact. The domed Basilica of the Annunciation is the city's most impressive landmark, and it is the largest Christian church in the Middle East. Many Roman Catholic pilgrims travel to Nazareth to see the Basilica, as according to Roman Catholic tradition, it is the site where the angel Gabriel revealed to Mary that she would bear the infant Messiah. In addition to a collection of religious art, the lower level also reveals archaeological remains of churches built on the same site from the Byzantine and Crusader eras. Right next to the Basilica is St Joseph's Church, built over a cavern which is thought to be where Jesus' earthly father, St Joseph, had his carpentry workshop.
Meanwhile, the Greek Orthodox Church has its own location where the Eastern Christian tradition holds was the site of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary to announce Jesus' birth. Visitors can continue their Nazareth vacation by visiting the Greek Orthodox Church of St Gabriel, which is built over a spring believed to be the source of a well Mary visited often. The church also houses a small collection of exquisite paintings and icons.
Mary's Well is a public fountain in the center of town built over the aforementioned well that Mary is said to have visited. In use since ancient times, the structure currently housing the well is a reconstruction of a nineteenth-century style. Archaeological excavations of the well have also unveiled Byzantine and Crusader-era tunnels, as well as pottery dating from the second century. The bathhouse nearby is also an interesting place to stop on a Nazareth vacation, and visitors can see a series of arches built to support the ancient Roman bathhouse, believed to have been fed by the same water source as Mary's Well.
The White Mosque in Nazareth is the oldest mosque in the city, and it is well worth a visit while you tour Nazareth. Built in the Ottoman architectural style, its cream walls, green trim, and pencil-shaped minaret make it an impressive landmark in the Mosque Quarter of the city. Close by is a great place to shop while on your Nazareth vacation—an extensive market, carefully restored, offers a large variety of goods as you stroll along its narrow lanes and alleys.
Other points of interest include the Greek Orthodox Bishopric located in Bishop's Square and, nearby, an interesting collection of buildings built in the style of Venetian palazzos, a nice contrast to the other restored buildings in the Old Town.
Nazareth Israel is one of the prime destinations to visit in the country, and from here, visitors are well-placed to continue their trip to the Sea of Galilee and other cities such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa. Nazareth's plethora of holy sites, restored ancient architecture, lively market, and unique cultural make-up make it a must for any traveler or pilgrim journeying in the Holy Land.
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