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“Interesting, but not a key destination”
Review of Milk Grotto

Milk Grotto
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Private Day Tour: St. George's Monastery, Wadi Qelt, Mar Saba, and Bethlehem
Ranked #3 of 30 things to do in Bethlehem
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Interesting, but not a key destination”
Reviewed February 1, 2014

My daughter and I stopped by the Milk Grotto where (as the story goes) a drop of Mary's milk dropped as she fed Jesus. It is clean, somewhat "modern-pretty" and an interesting quick stop as you tour Bethlehem and the surrounding area. On the other hand, I wouldn't change any plans just to see this.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank Jim289
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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241 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
67 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Milky Grotto Road Shops”
Reviewed January 7, 2014

On Milky Grotto Road Bethlehem, where the famous Milk Grotto is located are about 15-20 souvenier shops. They all offer the Olive wood souveniers especially Olive wood Nativity scenes. Over two days (Christmas eve and day 2013) Jackie and I looked in every shop at every Nativity set until we decided to buy all our take home gifts and a lovely Nativity set from Luis who owns St Patrick shop. Most of the shop owners were very patient and helpful. They were all happy to barter especially if you entered the shop on your own. Not with a guide, taxi driver or bus tour where the shop owner has to pay them up to 40% commission on everything you buy from their store. Luis gave us a fair discount because we bought almost $600 worth of gifts from him. He always made us coffee, was patient and offered to ship for us plus he is an easy gentleman to deal with and his English is excellent. He is a very trustworthy man and even some of the othe local business owners openly complimented him.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank vanislecanuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
133 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Clean, well kept but disappointing”
Reviewed December 22, 2013

I found my visit to Bethlehem disappointing, this was clean, very well preserved, but not really alot to say outside of that.
It is not someone where I would rush to find again, it is hard to imagine this is where Christ hid if the location of his birth is right (way to close)
If you have traveled to Bethlehem, then you should visit here, as I cannot see what else you will do

Visited October 2013
Thank Steve J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nelson, New Zealand
Level Contributor
47 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“A good place for quiet contemplation”
Reviewed December 10, 2013

The place is quiet and nicely kept. There's not lots of impressive things to see there, but it was nice. Very close to Manger Square so easily accessible.

Visited December 2013
Thank Rosie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories
Level Contributor
27 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Magharet El Sayidah Mariam (Milk Grotto) in Bethlehem”
Reviewed November 26, 2013

The Church of the Milk Grotto in Bethlehem Palestine is where according to Christian tradition the Holy Family took shelter during the Slaughter of the Innocents and stayed there for a short time hiding from Herod's soldiers. The Virgin Mary is said to have nursed Jesus and some milk spilt on the stone rock turned the stone of the cave to a "white stone “.

The street heading east from Manger Square along the south side of the Church of the Nativity leads to the Milk Grotto. The grotto is at least 2,000 years old and the early Christians came to pray here. The first structure was built over it around 385.

This church was built by St. Paula, who lived in Bethlehem and died there in 404 A.D. the church was naturally dedicated to the Virgin Mary, but at one time was called St. Paula probably by mistake by the builder of one of the numerous churches built in Bethlehem by her. In the 14th Century this church was known as the Church of St. Nicholas, as shown in a Papal Bull of Gregory XI in 1375, authorizing the Franciscans to rebuild it, which was not then done.

The Franciscans first took possession of the church sometime around 1347 after they became caretakers of the Sanctuary of the Nativity. The present building around the Grotto was put up by the Franciscans in 1872, some of the old church mosaics and traces of original walls remain to this day.

The faithful have venerated the spot for its powers as early as the fourth century, and local women of all faiths and denominations come here to pray for children, taking with them bits of the "milk powder" from the soft limestone found throughout the grotto. Holes the width of a finger can be found in several spots in the grotto ceiling of the newly renovated shrine, where over the years people have scraped out the fine dust to take home with them.

The renovations on the shrine completed at the end of 2006, have revealed sixth- and seventh-century Byzantine mosaic floors. The walls and ceiling were cleaned of soot from centuries of oil lamps and candle-burning. The structure was made handicapped-accessible, and a larger chapel was added on the second level to accommodate pilgrim groups who want to celebrate Mass there. A local Mass is held every Wednesday afternoon in the small church adjacent to the grotto.

One can visit the Church during a tour of Bethlehem and combine the visit with the Basilica of the Nativity, The Church of St. Catherine including the Shepherds’ fields.

Visited November 2013
Thank Fuad K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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