Nazareth is the cradle of Christianity, the city where, according to New Testament, the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the place where Jesus spent his childhood.
Nazareth is located in the heart of a valley surrounded by mountains in the lower Galilee- A community of faiths offering an array of biblical sites, fascinating archeology, modern culture and Middle Eastern flavors for all to experience.
2,000 years ago Nazareth began as a small Jewish village and then became a stronghold of Christianity in the Byzantine age. During that time, the name of Nazareth spread far and wide and the yearnings to see where the Virgin Mary and Jesus once lived created a desirable pilgrimage site.
The city’s first church was the Church of the Annunciation located at the traditional site of Mary’s home. Since then many more churches were built, destroyed, and rebuilt because of the changes in Muslim and Christian rule through the centuries. In the 19th century, Christians returned to live in Nazareth and rebuilt churches and monasteries.
While touring Nazareth, you can relive its various historical periods. Each era generated distinct symbols that created popular tourism sites for visitors today. Most of the sites are concentrated in the Old City and were built in the mid-19th century using a Middle Eastern architectural design. The Basilica of the Annunciation is by far the most popular church in Nazareth. When rebuilt, it retained parts of the previous churches from the Crusader and Byzantine periods. The church has an impressive collection of paintings.
Right next to the Church of the Annunciation is the Church of Saint Joseph, where according to tradition, Joseph, Mary’s husband had his carpentry shop. St. Gabriel’s Church is known as the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation. It is built over a Crusader period hall housing a fresh water spring believed to have been used by Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Nazareth Village is a favorite for anyone who wants to see how life was lived 2,000 years ago. The Village recreates an entire experience of events including sights, sounds and aromas from the past.
No tour of Nazareth’s Old City would be complete without a visit to the local market. The market is an exciting place to enjoy buying fashionable fabrics, local foods and spices, or unique artwork and souvenirs. For visitors who prefer to just browse, it is always a memorable and authentic experience. Also in the middle of the market there is a Greek Catholic "Synagogue Church" that believed to be the site where Jesus read Isaiah 61 in the Nazareth synagogue (Luke 4:17-19).