Bethlehem is the famous birthplace of Jesus Christ and every December the city prepares to share the Christmas holiday with visitors. While a modern city thrives in this location, there are still several historical sites that visitors can see. Here are the top attractions to see in Bethlehem this holiday season.
The Church of the Nativity
No visit to Bethlehem would be complete without a visit to the famous Church of the Nativity. The church was built by Emperor Constantine on the site of where Jesus is said to have been born and it still stands proud today even after hundreds of years. Here deep inside the church visitors can see the grotto of the nativity which is one of the holiest sites in the Middle East. The grotto is believed to be the exact site where Jesus was born and stands in what was once the manger where baby Jesus slept.
For Christian pilgrims, the site is of great religious importance and people travel from all over to see the site.
The Milk Grotto
Here a cave and chapel mark the spot where Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus took shelter and hid before escaping King Herod and fleeing to Egypt. The caves of the grotto are a labyrinth and were a perfect place to hide the firstborn baby from Herod and his troops.
Legend has it that a drop of Mary’s blood touched the floor of the grotto and turned the stone to white. The milk-white color of the stones of the caves is where the Milk Grotto go its name. Many women flock to the Milk Grotto because legend claims that a visit to the caves can help a woman conceive. The grounds and chapel building of the grotto are very well kept and visitors are welcome to walk the grounds and explore the ancient caverns.
St Catherine’s Church
Located next to the ancient church of the nativity, St Catherine’s Church was built much later and completed in the 1800s. The church was built by the Franciscans over the spot of a much earlier and primitive Christian church.
Like the Milk Grotto and the Church of the Nativity, St Catherine’s is connected to the underground cave system and the chapel of the innocents inside St Catherine’s pays homage to all the children massacred by King Herod.