We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
TRAVEL ALERT: SAFETY AND SECURITY CONCERNS More info

“VERY disappointing” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Church of the Nativity

Church of the Nativity
Manger Square, Bethlehem
Website
Improve this listing
Book ahead on Viator
Special Offer
$169*
and up
Jerusalem Super Saver: Day Tours of Jerusalem and...
Ranked #3 of 16 Attractions in Bethlehem
Type: Religious Sites, Historic Sites, Cultural
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Built over the Grotto of the Nativity by Constantine in 325 A.D., destroyed and rebuilt in the 6th century and renovated in the 11th century by the crusaders, this is the oldest Church in the Holy Land that is still in use.
Beaumont, Alberta, Canada
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“VERY disappointing”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

I am not catholic but I was looking forward to seeing an old church with possibly a great deal of historical and biblical significance. When our group arrived I found the church small, dirty, filled with smoke from a service going on and the site was VERY small, crowded and hot! I was NOT impressed and would not waste my time there if I were to visit Israel again.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

463 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    269
    116
    59
    13
    6
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
31 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
“Interesting but insanely chaotic”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

A site worth visiting, and I imagine much more meaningful to those of the Christian faith. We waited online for almost 2 hours before descending to the spot where Jesus was allegedly born. It was complete madness - there is no organization at all, people were cutting in front of others, shoving each other - not a very gdly or respectful way to act!

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vasai, India
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Lord came on the Earth”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

I am a Catholic. But this review is not only as a catholic but a historical value. First: Lord Jesus Born Here Second: Excavation and finding the site and Built this church by St. Helena , Mother of Byzantine King Constantinople, Third : Renovated in Justinian Time Fourth: Escaped or spared by Saladin as the pictures on wall look alike a Persian people. ( Magi Kings ) Fifth : Worlds Oldest Functioning Church. All of Christians, All of Architects, All of Historians, all of Politicians, All of psychiatrists, All of Peacekeepers Must visit this church.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver
Top Contributor
301 reviews 301 reviews
191 attraction reviews
Reviews in 132 cities Reviews in 132 cities
268 helpful votes 268 helpful votes
“Know what to look for and where it is”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

My visit to Bethleham was part of an arranged tour with our cruise ship anchored in Haifa. Without the tour guide shepherding us through the crowds and right doorways, I doubt if we would have seen as much in the short time that we were here...under an hour.
In Manager Square, our guide directed us to enter the Church of the Nativity by going through the St. Catherine's Catholic Church where we found a doorway leading downwards into the "basement" so to speak. This narrow stairwell was the only way to avoid the long line up of people waiting outside to go through a low doorway to enter the Church of the Nativity. In past times, this low doorway had prevented horses and their riders from entering the Church and making off with gold/treasures found inside. In the crypt, fortunately there was no service going on so we could move about as freely as the crowded space allowed. The guide pointed out altar areas and a picture of Mary in this space. I don't recall what the significance of this area was. I guess I wasn't listening close enough. There were no explanation signs. We then moved into the Orthodox Christian Church area with a lot of people milling about. There were lots of hanging lights and incense burners in this area. Apparently there was something of significance in an open space...I didn't see what these people were crowded around and the guide didn't move us in that direction either. Instead the guide moved us aside to the end of the Church where the original mosaic floor of Constantine's chapel lay exposed for our eyes.The guide explained that the dulled gold mosaics high up on the walls had once covered the entire wall areas, but once bits and pieces had been removed, the mosaic had started to crumble. Roman columns and arches were still standing in this historic Church. Leaving this dark, smokey with incense, Church we emerged into a bright sunny courtyard and headed downhill passing shops for the bus park.
I was surprised that Bethleham is in Palestine hands. I was also surprised to see that the Israelis have constructed a very high prison like wall with barbed wire and watch towers around Bethleham to monitor the coming and going of Palestinians into Israel. Our bus quickly cleared this check-point without a soldier coming aboard to check or to question us.
What do I remember of this tour? I remember the Catholic Church with its beautiful floral altar under a picture of Mary. From this church at Christmas time, mass is broadcast on TV. I also remember the mosaics on the floor and the wall of Constantine's church, and the tall barbed wire fence around the city. The significance of this place as the birthplace of Jesus was not evident to me. Hopefully you will be more prepared to see the special spots than I was. However, if like me, you'll find the guidebooks for Bethleham to be perplexing too because it will be unclear to you, until you make the visit, what the churches are that you will be visiting.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kochi , India
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Well maintained”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

You feel near to god .... very solemn place ...
feel the divinity if you spend some time there .....
A definite must see place for Christians

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Church of the Nativity also viewed

Jerusalem, Jerusalem District
Jerusalem, Jerusalem District
 
Jerusalem, Jerusalem District
Jerusalem, Jerusalem District
 

Been to Church of the Nativity? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Church of the Nativity, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.