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“Iconic site..wow!”

Church of the Nativity
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Ranked #1 of 30 things to do in Bethlehem
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Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
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.
Columbia, South Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
1,802 reviews
1,378 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 644 helpful votes
“Iconic site..wow!”
Reviewed January 19, 2013

Truly an amazing experience to witness the birthplace. The church is old, but has an amazing feeling of wonderment to it. Crowds were not bad the day we went. some great art and design of the Crusades still exist. a lot of religious symbols are around the place. the star representing the birth spot was really powerful. Go as a group- I would be nervous traveling into Bethlehem by myself as you have to cross the Palestine checkpoint.

Visited December 2012
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Thank jlantern3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Almeria, Spain
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Beautiful Church With so Much History”
Reviewed January 15, 2013

I came to Bethlehem over Christmas to visit a friend who lives in a nearby town and he took me here right away. I must start by saying that I am not religious. But I was still very excited to see the church which housed the spot where Jesus was supposedly born. The church is so beautiful inside. Not like most of the European cathedrals but really old and authentic. We didn't have to wait in line to see where Jesus was born since I was with a local (The line was super long so I was glad about that) But to go down there and see all the people praying and so excited to see this spot was really something special. Not to get too political here, but I really wish Israel would let UNESCO help the Palestinians out with this church. It could definitely use the money for some upkeep.
But if you are ever anywhere near Bethlehem you cannot miss a visit to this church.

Visited December 2012
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Thank Alli8489
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“birthplace of jesus”
Reviewed January 14, 2013

We arrived here so early as this place will be packed up with hundreds of pilgrims queueing to venerate the star of David. The church is manage by the Orthodox and Catholics. This is the brithplace of Jesus in the manger. You can still see all the mosaics and original decorations/ relics on the time of Jesus, I could say on our visit it is very crowded with people once you arrived late. We almost queue for nearly 2 hours, that was the busiest time of the day I reckoned and we are not able to visit the Milk Grotto anymore in the aftrenoon due to lack of time. Overall a very nice experience to visit this holy place

Visited November 2012
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Thank toto0713
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level 6 Contributor
545 reviews
348 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 458 helpful votes
“Great religious and historical significance”
Reviewed January 14, 2013

Enter through the Door of Humility, so called because because one must bend over since the door is quite low, made this way during the Ottoman era to prevent mounted horsemen from entering the Basilica.

I found the interior impressive because of it simple and stark beauty, with four rows of Corinthian columns, roof with exposed rafters and the great altar built over the site of Jesus' birth, filled with gorgeous lanterns. In the main area there is an exposed part of a mosaic from the original Church .The Greek Orthodox Christmas is celebrated here on January 6th.

This Church has had a turbulent history as everyone fought over this Holiest of places. It would be a good idea to read up on this history before your visit , in order to truly appreciate what you see.

The part of the Church with the greatest religious and historical significance is the Grotto of the Nativity the site of Jesus' birth.A short flight of steps leads down to the Grotto, and the birthplace is marked by a fourteen- pointed star, lit by fifteen lamps to represent the different Christian communities. Opposite this altar is the Altar of the Manger, where Baby Jesus was laid after he was born. A third altar nearby is dedicated to the three wise men who came to worship Him. The few moments I spent here were emotional and very special -- it cannot be described in mere words. I simply gave thanks and asked for mercy.

The exit back to the Church is through a few more steps , via the Armenian Chapel.

From the Basilica of the Nativity there is direct access to the Roman Catholic St. Catherine's Church next door -- this is where Midnight Mass is celebrated on December 24th and telecast around the world. The Church is modern in comparison to the Crusader Basilica of the Nativity.

Near the cloister of St. Catherine's Church and under the Basilica is a cave where St. Jerome lived and translated the Old Testament into Latin ( now known as the Vulgate). There is no access to the cave.

Visited December 2012
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Thank Roshni2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pasadena, California
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A Trip to be made by All at least Once”
Reviewed January 9, 2013

The architecture, history and hoards of pilgrims all make this a special visit... particularly during the Christmas season.

Visited December 2012
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Thank bighairyarab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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