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

“Friendly Franciscan brothers in an interesting site!” 4 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.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Friendly Franciscan brothers in an interesting site!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2014

I decided to visit this site in a group of four due to ongoing security concerns although this is focused in the Hebron area presently. I enjoyed exploring the where Jesus was born although I add it isn't a stable rather a cave. A word of warning is that there are a lot of worshippers packed into a very tight area; so you may want to arrive earlier in the day if this is something that concerns you! The church is well maintained although it's currently undergoing significant maintenance work, however this didn't affect access to the church itself.

Whilst there two of the Spanish members of our group started speaking to a Franciscan Brother. This led to us getting a private behind the scenes tour of areas the public wouldn't otherwise see. I would definitely recommend this site because of it's historical and religious significance to would be travellers.

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

462 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    269
    115
    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
Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala, India
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“A Humbling Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2014

Jesus was born here over 2000 years ago in such humble surroundings. To be able to see the spot where the shepherds received the glad tidings of His birth and then to visit the church of the Nativity was another humbling experience. Of course, like everywhere else, the place was crowded and being part of the tour group one felt a little rushed and couldn't spend as much time there as one would have liked to so that you didn't get lost & spend time searching for your group. But all in all it was a heartwarming experience to be able to briefly worship at the very spot where Mary gave birth to Jesus in the cave. A very humbling experience when you think that this little baby was born in such lowly circumstances and had to die a humiliating death on the cross for our sins.

Visited May 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, Virginia
Top Contributor
241 reviews 241 reviews
111 attraction reviews
Reviews in 153 cities Reviews in 153 cities
254 helpful votes 254 helpful votes
“Go at your own pace”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2014

I went as part of an organized tour group tour and inevitably, I felt herded. It's understandable, given that big groups take up a lot of room and many historic places, like the Church of the Navitity, just don't have the real estate available, so groups are strongly encouraged to move through and not linger. That's one function of the tour leader. If you would rather tour on your own pace, you might consider doing this on your own and not part of an organized tour group. There are pros and cons to hiring a guide, with the foremost reason having someone there to answer your questions. However, be prepared to get herded around. Our visit to the Church of the Nativity was the last stop of our day and I was feeling the effects of having been herded around all day. Unfortunately, this took away from my having a positive experience at the Church of the Nativity. We stood in line to be able to kneel down and touch the star memorial. With most of our group being over 60 years old, this took time for each pair (yes, we had to pair up so the group could go through faster). No time for prayers or reflection.

I would recommend visiting on your own and not part of a group tour. You have better control over your timeline and pace. Additionally, one or two people are better able to navigate around bigger crowds. Do your own research in advance, so that even if you do end up hiring a tour guide, you'll know what questions to ask.

Visited May 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montvale, NJ
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“History before your eyes”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2014

Although it is in the midst of a restoration, I couldn't believe the amount of artwork that wasn't hidden behind large sheets of glass. There was a fair amount of people but the lines through the various parts of the church moved quickly. Be sure to obtain a guide as they will help explain the numerous items within the church as well as its history...and will also help you avoid the long lines, which can be more than an hour long. However, they may try to steer you to one of the many local souvenir shops after the tour. another hint is to get a guidebook before visiting so you have some knowledge of what is there and what you want to see.

Visited June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Glasgow
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
338 helpful votes 338 helpful votes
“The birthplace of Christ”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2014

This something I always wanted to go and see and I am so glad I did. it really is remarkable to think he was born here over two milleniums ago, in such humble surroundings . very moving experience

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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.