Bethlehem is a city in the former Christian – and demographic changes which are taking place all the time. Christians, by the end of the eighties which constituted the majority of the population, began late eighties to emigrate in large numbers – largely due to security incidents during the two intifada and the construction of the separation fence. In the early 70s, they accounted for 60% -70% of the population, today they number about 25%. Most of them moved to Europe, North America and even South America. This is a tall fir tree, placed Christians in the city center.
The most famous site in Bethlehem is of course the Church of the Nativity. This church, which was this year named a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, considered one of the most important places in the Christian world. Here is believed Jesus was born – which is why the masses of pilgrims come here from all over the world.
This is one of the oldest churches in the world. It was built in the 4th century AD by Emperor Constantine – though not much is left from his time.
I was impressed by the church’s antiquity, and the fact that many relics have been preserved in the Byzantine period – as beautiful mosaics and ornate columns. Cave excitement reaches its peak pilgrims. Here, according to tradition, the Virgin Mary gave birth to the messiah – Baby G`izs.
Star of Bethlehem, which is also considered the symbol of the city. In 1847 the star was gone here, and Catholics were accused by the Greek-Orthodox thief. This has caused tremendous stress – factors breakthrough was the Crimean War. Today, pilgrims assume various objects in the cave, near the star, to absorb holiness.
The church is divided between three different Christian communities (Greek, and Armenian Catholics), but the main space control is in the hands of the Greeks. This wall iconostasis, separating the audience and doing holy.
Because the Greeks are holding in most parts of the Church of the Nativity, the Franciscans decided, towards the end of the 19th century, to build a Catholic church next to be her only possession – “Church of St. Catherine.” In fact, this is where the famous Midnight mass is held on 24 December, we all hear it on the news.
200 meters from the Church of the Nativity is located in “Milk Grotto”, which is also owned by the Franciscans. According to belief, the Holy Family hid here during the massacre of the innocents, before fleeing to Egypt. Because of the rush, while raising his son cleaned, dabbed milk into the ground – and became the moon cave.