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Nazareth History

Nazareth travel guide

The Importance of Nazareth in the Christian Tradition

Nazareth was a small and insignificant village during the period of Jesus. While the site was settled during the period 600-900 BCE, it was too small to be included in the list of settlements of the tribe of Zebulon (Joshua 19:10-16), which mentions twelve towns and six villages. Nazareth is not included among the 45 cities of the Galilee that were mentioned by Josephus, and her name is missing from the 63 towns in Galilee mentioned in the Talmud.It seems that the words of Nathanel of Cana, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:47) characterized the site’s seeming insignificance. It is needless to say that the people of Judea had never heard of Nazareth.
And from this we understand the reason that Pontius Pilate decorates the cross with the sign “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” (John 19:19) – meaning that the “King of the Jews” is from “nowhere.” The early name “Nazarenes” given to the Christians might have been a derogatory nickname that the people of Judea gave to the followers of Jesus (Matthew 26:71, Acts 6:38). Jesus was known throughout the Galilee as “Jesus of Nazareth” (Matthew 21:11 , Mark 14:67) – but for those not from the Galilee, this name had no meaning for them. In order to explain where Nazareth was located, the Galileans had to explain that the village was near Gat-Hyefer (Jonah’s hometown,Kings II 14:25), which could be seen from Nazareth. Archeological excavations conducted in Nazareth (by Bagati since 1955) show that Nazareth was a small agricultural village settled by a few dozen families.
The pottery remains testify to a continuous settlement during the period 600-900 BCE. After those years, there was a break in settlement until the year 200 BCE.

Since then, the site of Nazareth has been consistently inhabited. Most of the archeological finds consist of caves, cisterns and grain storage bins. The agricultural character of the site is made obvious with the discoveries of oil mills and mill stones. There were a large number of underground rooms because the soft chalk of Nazareth made it easy to hew caves.
Nazareth is located between the open space of the Jezreel valley and the mountainous regions of the Galilee. The valley and its history were well known to the Jews of Nazareth in the time of Jesus.During the first 20 years of his life that he spent in Nazareth, Jesus had many an opportunity to walk on the mountain ranges, to look over and think about the history of his people. The great battles that had taken place in the valley, together with the great hopes that were dashed with their losses, must have affected and shaped his view on life. The valley of Jezreel, as it is seen from Nazareth, is a natural battlefield. This fact must have influenced the idea of “…all the holders of swords shall fall by the sword,” (Matthew 28:52). Another geographical area adjacent to Nazareth was the lower Galilee and the Beti Netofa valley.

In this region there were many small Jewish villages and towns settled by Hellenized Syrians. The largest of these towns was Tzippori, the capital of the Galilee until the year 18 BCE. Even though Tzippori is a 45- minute-walk from Nazareth, the town is not mentioned in the New Testament. The main events in Jesus’s life, as described in the New Testament, are the annunciation of his birth (Luke 1:26-38),his childhood and early manhood (Luke 2:39-52, Matthew 2:19-23), and the clash with his fellow citizens (Matthew 13:54-58, Luke 4:17-30). From the very first events relating to the life of Jesus in Nazareth, we learn that the people of his village did not approve of his thinking and behavior. To them he was Jesus, one of the sons of Joseph the carpenter (the other brothers were James, Joseph, Simeon and Judah – Matthew 13:55). Luke describes with great drama how Jesus was rejected by the people of Nazareth. After his sermon in the synagogue aroused their anger, the people took him “and brought him to the precipice of the mountain that their city was built upon” (Luke 4). Some have pointed out that this sentence in Luke is not correct, as Nazareth is built in a valley and not on a mountain. But the valley of Nazareth is on a mountain overlooking the Jezreel valley – and the mountain of the precipice overlooks the valley of Nazaret and the valley of Jezreel.

Nazareth is also holy to Christians because it throws light on the holy family, especially Mary, the mother of Jesus. This is the place where a Christian believer can consider Mary’s qualities. Her character as a noble woman, a woman of purity, simplicity, sensitivity and pureness of heart. Mary is portrayed as a mother who devotes herself to the education of her son and remains devoted to him in the most trying of circumstances (she was present at his crucifixation – John 19:25 – and recognized him as the messiah – Acts 2:36). For Catholics, Mary has a special significance – and her special place in the New Testament is hinted at in the verses”Blessed art though of women” (Luke1:41) and “Peace unto thee woman of grace, God be with you” (Luke 1:28).

Dr. James Fleming

The Blend Hotel Nazareth

The Blend Hotel Nazareth

A new boutique hotel from the Golden Crown hotel chain in Nazareth, the Blend Hotel offers 70 guest rooms just a short walk from the markets and churches of the old city center. In the near future, guests will be able to enjoy a beautiful rooftop at the hotel. Paulus VI St., 62 Nazareth. Rates and online booking for the Blend Hotel Nazareth >>.

Places of Interest in Nazareth

Places of Interest in Nazareth

1. BASILICA OF THE ANNUNCIATION, CHURCH OF ST. JOSEPH CARPENTRY COMPLEX Imposing modern two storey Basilica, erected over earlier Byzantine & Crusader church, marks the traditional Roman Catholic site of the Annunciation. The interior enshrines the sunken Grotto of the Annunciation - actual remains of the 1st century maiden home of Mary. 2. CHURCH OF STJOSEPH'S CARPENTRY Situated in the same complex as the Basilica of the Annunciation. Traditionally the original workshop of Joseph and Home of the Holy Family, it contains ruins of 1st century Nazareth. 3. SISTERS OF NAZARETH CONVENT Close to Annunciation complex, housing Youth Hostel and religious hospice, with 1st century excavations including Herodian Tomb (by appointment only). 4. ANCIENT SYNAGOGUE & GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH Within the marketplace is a humble structure of thick, curved stone walls (known as the Synagogue Church) that is the site of the ancient synagogue where Jesus preached as a young man. It stands adjacent to the Greek Catholic church. 5. THE WHITE MOSQUE - EL ABYAD The El Abyad mosque , situated at the edge of the Old Market, was the first to be built in Nazareth in 1812. 6. ANGLICAN CHURCH (Jesus' Church) Designed in the shape of the cross this was the second Anglican church to be built in the Holy-land. Completed 1871. 7. SOURCE OF MARY'S WELL st. GABRIEL GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE ANNUNCIATION The crypt of this ornate 18th century church houses a 1st century spring of water believed to be the source of Mary's Well. The spring is connected to the site of the Well by an underground aqueduct. 8. MARY'S WELL Opposite the St. Gabriel Greek Orthodox Church a modern stone structure in a small garden setting marks the site of Mary's Well. 9. St. MARGARET (Hospice) Anglican orphanage for girls, built in 1874 by Prussian architect. 10. MASCOBIA Russian hospice for pilgrims, built in 1904 by the Russian Duke Sergio, near St. Gabriel Church - influenced by Russian Architecture. 11. GREEK ORTHODOX BISHOPRIC The house of the Bishop, built in 1860 and includes small church completed in 1863. 12. SARAYA The governor house -erected in 1 730 as summer house of the Galilee Governor Daher El-Omar - some addition had been done in 1857. (There is a plan to restore it to be as a Museum). 13. MARONITE CHURCH Also known as the Church of St. Anthony, and situated next to Mensa Christi, was completed in 1774. 14. MENSA CHRISTI (Jesus' Table) Known as Kniset El-Balta (Jesus's table). Here is said that christ dined with his disciples. This church houses a large chalk-stone rock scored with graffiti by countless pilgrims throughout the ages. It was erected in 1860 and belong to the Franciscans. 15. SALESIAN CHURCH OF JESUS AS AN ADOLESCENT Magnificent panoramic view from its site on the peak of the hill. Fine example of modern Gothic architecture. 16. MAQAM NABI SA'IN Shrine erected in the highest point of Nazareth, sacred to both Moslems and Christian were they use to vow. 17. THE OLD MARKET A bustling, colorful Middle Eastern bazaar near the Annunciation complex. 18. KAHN EL-BASHA The Pasha caravanserai, the most important in the city for many centuries, renovated in 1812 by Abdullah Pasha and is part of the White Mosque trust. 19. MAQAM SHIHAB EL-DIN Domed tomb shrine of a Moslem leader - the nephew of Saladin, after the Crusaders. 20. MAQAM EL-SHIEKH AMER Domed Shrine of the brother of Shihab El-Din, rennovatedin 1911. 21. CARMELITE CONVENT 22. FRERES DE BETHARRAM MONASTERY Once known as the White Monks. 23. FRENCH HOSPITAL Interesting architecture. 24. DON GUANELLA 25. EL SALAM MOSQUE A modern, impressive mosque built in the 1960's. 26. COPTIC CHURCH Erected by the small Coptic community of Nazareth in 1952. 27. BAPTIST CHURCH 28. HOLY FAMILY HOSPITAL On the outskirts of the city, interesting architecture with imposing statue of the Virgin Mary nearby. 29. ST, JOSEPH'S SEMINARY 30. SISTERS OF THE ANNUNCIATION (BISHARA NUNS) Noted for the painting of religious icons. 31. NAZARETH HOSPITAL (E.M.M.S) 32. KASER EL-MUTRAN Greek Orthodox Church, built in the place where according to their tradition is the place of the lady's Fright. It was erected in 1862 with the money of a rich Russian woman. 33. THE MOUNT OF THE LEAP OF THE LORD (Mount of Precipice) 2 km. outside the city, where according to legend the people of Nazareth attempted to throw Jesus into the abyss. Site of the Cave of the Leap - one of the most important archeological discoveries in the world, dating back 50,000 years - to the Late and Middle Stone Age periods. 13 human skeletons and over 15,000 artifacts from these Stone Age periods were unearthed. The Nazareth Municipality is now undertaking a massive project to develop this Mount into a major tourist site. 34. ST. CLAIRE'S CONVENT 35. SALESIAN SISTERS 36. HAMMAM (Turkish Bath) Erected behind Mary's Well in 1887 by Tanous Qa'war, the first Mayor of Nazareth. 38. LITTLE SISTERS OF JESUS

One day tour - Nazareth, Capernaum and the Jordan River

One day tour - Nazareth, Capernaum and the Jordan River

Cruise Ship Excursion from Haifa only - Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Capernaum (1 day) Trip Duration: One Day Trip Schedule: The trip begins in northern Nazareth with a visit to the Church of the Annunciation, one of the holiest Christian sites. According to Christian belief, the church was built on the site where the Virgin Mary lived, and where the angel Gabriel told her that she was pregnant with the son of God. From there we will continue to Capernaum, along the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus lived. We will visit the Church of the Multiplication, in Tabgha, where Jesus carried out the miracle of the loaves and fishes. We will continue driving through the city of Tiberias to the Yardenit baptism site, on the Jordan River. Must Bring: Hat/head covering, comfortable walking shoes. Please Note: Visitors must wear modest dress to holy sites (head covering, covered shoulders, pants or long skirts).

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