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“Interesting but cluttered”

Church of the Nativity
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Bethlehem and Jericho Tour From Jerusalem
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Bethlehem Tour from Jerusalem
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Private Day Tour: St. George's Monastery, Wadi Qelt, Mar Saba, and Bethlehem
Ranked #2 of 31 things to do in Bethlehem
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
Reviewed June 18, 2013

Although the place has a pretty good claim to fame, I found it a little bit difficult to be there. The surrounding area is a fun hodgepodge of shops and vendors, but the area by the church itself is quite open. There are guides outside who will try and heckle you, and as we were a group of five it was fairly cheap to hire one for the afternoon. Otherwise, I'm not too sure about whats supposed to happen as far as entry or fees go. Inside the church it was a bit chaotic, and without a guide I probably wouldnt have known where to go. Furthermore, its very crowded, though it was cool to get to watch the procession of people go by. Unfortunately it is very unclear about whats supposed to happen within, and I got stuck around the back side of the church and was kind of locked out of where I'd come from, which was complicated, and no one could tell me where to go. Overall just an ok experience.

Thank NatalieSteinberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 7, 2013

The Church of the Nativity is a must see when visiting Israel. While it is, as some people have pointed out, disorganized and chaotic, that is to be expected when visiting such an historical spot, considering the number of visitors. We visited in April, and I think the crowds were a bit better than many have described. Go with a guide to get the most out of the visit and to move through the more crowded areas. Just to be in this historic place is amazing. As a Catholic this was a pilgrimage, but the history is amazing no matter what religion. Also, the experience of traveling through the checkpoints and visiting is interesting. The church itself is somewhat unassuming in it's architecture, but the interior decoration varies from simple to opulent.

Thank CindyBaltimore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2013

The church is very old and lots of beautiful details, the floor tiles date back to the 4th century, but is cluttered with rosary beads, and christmas ornamanents hanging off the chandeliers. I was looking forward to visiting but overwhelmed with the crowds lined up in a disorganized manner to enter the grotto to visit the site where Jesus was born (denoted by a silver star on the ground). I felt very claustrophobic. By the way, do not sit down and cross your legs. After entering the grotto, I had to sit down, I simply crossed my leg to give it a good stretch, and I got yelled at for it is not permitted to cross your legs in the church... be aware of your behaviour.

Thank CatGal_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2013

It is amazing to think that this was identified as the spot Jesus was born back in abut 300 CE by the mother in law of Constantine. I would score it higher but for the in fighting between Christian denominations for control of the building, and the crowds. Definitely hire a local tour guide for the walk through. Don't just drop in from a bus from Jerusalem and think his is still part of Israel - it isn't. Take time to walk around the area surrounding the church to get a feel of the community,

Thank Chris J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

Thank Talbertenator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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