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Earth : Asia : Middle East : Israel : Galilee : Nazareth
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For other places with the same name, see Nazareth (disambiguation).
Basilica of the Annunciation at night, Nazareth.

Nazareth (Arabic الناصرة an-Nāṣirah, Hebrew נצרת Nasarat, [4]) is a city in northern Israel. With a population of 75,000, it is the largest Arab city in Israel proper with a mixed but quite harmonious Christian (about 30%) and Muslim population (70%).


Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth.

Nazareth is best known as the home of Joseph and Mary and hence also Jesus, although he was said in only one of the gospels to have been born in Bethlehem, which some modern scholars reject.

The Christian sabbath day of Sunday makes Nazareth almost a ghost town on Sundays as most shops in Old Town are closed.

A number of Christian holy places in Nazareth are associated with the Annunciation, the childhood and the early ministry of Jesus. In addition to the imposing Basilica of the Annunciation, these sites include the Greek Orthodox Church of the Archangel Gabriel (built over the freshwater spring known as "Mary’s Well"), the Greek Catholic "Synagogue Church" (assumed site of the synagogue where the young Jesus was taught, and where he later read from Isaiah), and the Franciscan Church of St. Joseph (built over a cave identified since the 17th century as the "workshop" of Joseph).

As the place where Jesus may have grown up, studied and lived most of his life, Nazareth has for two thousand years been closely identified with Christianity and has attracted hundreds of millions of pilgrims from around the world. Nazareth is also Israel’s largest Arab city and as such serves as a major cultural center. Over the past decade the historical Old City has been extensively renovated, preserving and restoring the architectural beauty and unique character of its narrow lanes and alleys. The combination of these three elements – history, culture and architecture – assures the Old City of Nazareth a place among the most beautiful historical destinations in the world.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]

Nazareth is 102 km from Tel Aviv and 131 from Jerusalem. Take a bus number 823 or 826 from Tel Aviv New Central Bus Station directly to Nazareth (does not operate on Sabbath or Jewish holidays). The journey takes about 2 hours.

From Haifa, the 331 bus (from station Merkaz Hashmona) takes about an hour, and operates daily including the Sabbath and holidays.

From Jerusalem, there are two direct buses per day - excluding Sabbath and Jewish holidays (bus number 955) or take a bus to Afula and switch to a bus to Nazareth.

From Acre (Akko/'Akka), the NTT bus 353 runs hourly, and takes about 50 minutes. Catch it on Derech HaArba'a in the New City.

There is also a daily bus during the summer (less frequent during the winter) from/to Amman operated by Nazarene 04-6010458

By car[edit]

Prepare for some of the area's worst driving. Traffic is typically on the heavy side, roads are not well-signed nor well-maintained, and parking is rather haphazard. Beware of sharp switchbacks and small, winding roads with no exit—these are cramped, crazy, Arab streets. Driving to and within this town is doable, but for the brave of heart. GPS is a must, but not entirely trustworthy.

Get around[edit]

Central Nazareth can be easily covered on foot. There is also public transport, which operates on Saturdays; however, the buses tend to get stuck in the traffic after 9:00AM - 12:00PM. There is usually traffic from 12:00PM until 6:00PM.

Main traffic is at the main street of Nazareth, where there is also a good deal of shwarma and falafel eateries.

Traffic is avoidable by car if you are not going through the main street.

See[edit][add listing]

Maqam al-Nabi Saeen Mosque.
  • The Basilica of the Annunciation is built above the sunken grotto which according to the Roman Catholic faith was the home of the Virgin Mary and the place where she received the Annunciation (the announcement of the imminent birth of Jesus). The large and impressive modern-day church is built above the remains of churches dating back to Crusader and Byzantine times, still visible on the lower level. The church boasts dozens of pictures donated by Christian communities around the world. The Largest Church in the Middle East and one of Christianity’s Holiest shrines, its imposing dome dominates the Nazareth skyline and is an ideal landmark and starting point for visiting Other churches. It marks the spot where the Archangel Gabriel Informed the Virgin Mary that God had chosen her to bear his son; there is also a tradition that Mary lived in a house on this site. The complex of the modern Basilica is built on two levels. The lower one,Making the traditional Roman Catholic site of the Annunciation, contains ancient remains of churches from the Byzantiane and Crusader eras. During archaeological excavations, relics were found dating back to the Canaanite settlement of Nazareth, Though the most interesting find was of a typical Nazarene house, hewn out of the rock, from the Roman Period. The upper level, built between 1959 and 1969 on the site of an 18th-century church, is in strikingly modern architectural style. With its stained- glass windows highlighted against bare stone.A garden and courtyard connect the Basilica to St. Joseph’s Church and Workshop. Admission to the Basilica is free. Hours: M-Sa 8:30AM-11:45AM & 2PM-5:50PM; Sun. and feasts 2PM-5:30PM. Winter, M-Sa 9AM-11:45AM & 2PM-4:30PM; Su and feasts 2PM-4:30PM.
  • Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation is built above a spring believed to be the source of a well where Mary drew water each day. This is the site where the Greek Orthodox tradition maintains that the Angel Gabriel revealed to Mary knowledge of the impending birth of Jesus. The Orthodox Museum is closed . Those working at the church are temperamental, and have been known to arbitrarily shout at or remove pilgrims from the church.
  • Coptic Church of the Annunciation is the site of the Annunciation to Mary according to the Coptic Orthodox tradition. the church was built in 1952 by the Coptic community of Nazareth.
Basilica pf Jesus the Adolecent.
  • St. Joseph’s Church, next to the Basilica of the Annunciation. Also known as Church of the Nutrition and Joseph’s Workshop, because it is believed that the cavern in the basement was Joseph’s carpentry shop, Built in 1914, on the foundations of a Crusader church, with Romanesque influences. Hours: Daily 9AM-11:45AM & 2PM-5:30PM.
  • Synagogue Church is a small Melkite Greek Catholic church that built by the Crusaders at the 12th century. according to the Christian tradition the church is built over the ancient synagogue of Nazareth where Jesus studied and prayed, it is also the same synagogue that Jesus delivered his famous sermon in Shabbath and declared himself as the Messiah. The church is located on the heart of the old city.
Mensa Christi Church
  • Mensa Christi Church is a small catholic church built in 1781. the church marks the site where Jesus dined with his Apostles after his resurrection and the Table of christ is located inside the church. the church is under the custody of the Franciscan order.
  • Church of Mary's Fear or Our Lady of the Fright Church - According to Christian tradition, when Mary heard that the residents of the village are about to push her son off the mountain she rushed after him. When she came to this hill, a great fear took over her. This event was commemorated by building a small Greek-Orthodox church.
  • Basilica of Jesus the Adolescent is the biggest church in Nazareth and known for its architecture. the basilica located on Nazareth's highest point in the city and includes a panoramic view over Nazareth.
  • Mary’s Well and the Ancient Bath House. The structure surrounding Mary’s Well (known as el-Sabil in Arabic) was recently renovated and restored to its original form. Mary’s Well is the symbol of Nazareth Municipality. Next to Mary’s Well is a pleasant souvenir shop named Cactus, belonging to Elias and Martina Shama. After buying the shop in the 1990s, the Shamas discovered that beneath it was concealed one of the most exciting and important discoveries in Nazareth in recent history: a network of beautifully preserved ancient stones arches that once supported a giant bath house. It is believed the exposed remains beneath the shop may date back to the ancient Roman era – that is, to the time of Jesus – and have been fed by the same water that supplied Mary’s Well­. There is an entrance fee to the site, but no advance reservation is necessary and guided explanations and hot and cold drinks are available to visitors.
St. Joseph Church near the Basilica of the Annunciation.
  • El-Babour – The Mill of the Galilee, middle of Bishara street tel.# 04 645 5596. Go in through a little door on the right of the street following the aromas to a large shop that opened more than a hundred years ago as a flour mill and which today offers an array of fresh oils and spices which are a celebration to the eye the ear and the nose.
  • Diwan El Lajun Multi cultural center for the Stage Arts, Tel. #04.646 9413. In a beautiful space rich with arches is Café-Theater Diwan El Lajun which houses cultural and multi cultural activities in the stage arts and the traditional artisan work. Diwan El Lajun produces shows in Arabic, English, Hebrew and bi-lingual shows, folklore music concerts, literature, poetry and dance evenings, storey telling shows and circus shows from Israel and abroad. Arab-Jews meetings of adults and adolescents are taking place as well. Workshops in theater, storey telling, belly dancing circus and traditional crafts are being offered as well as well as Palestinian brocading. Location Sibat El Kaawer Alley (6098 near the suk)

Opening hours: M-Sa 9AM-3PM. Performances are mainly during the weekend or on special order for groups.

  • Nazareth Village If you're having trouble imagining Jesus doing anything miraculous amid the bustle of modern Nazareth, then step back 2000 years at Nazareth Village. Everyday life and commerce in a traditional Galilean village has been duly reconstructed with actors in period clothing leading tours of the working farm. Leave any nightmares of tacky olde worlde historical theme parks at the door - it's well done and worth a stop.
  • Maqam Shihab al-Din is the shrine of the Islamic martyr Shihab al-Din, one of Saladin's nephew who died at the battle of hattin. the shrine is a small building with a green dome and includes the tomb of of Shihab al-Din with a mosque the building's rooftop. the location of the shrine is in front of the Basilica of the Annunciation. the location created tensions between the Muslim and Christian populations in Nazareth when the Muslim leadership wanted to build a big mosque over the shrine, a mosque that would hide the Basilica's landscape. the Israeli authorities stopped the illegal build up of the Mosque in 2002.
  • Maqam al-Nabi Saeen Mosque is Nazareth most beautiful mosque with a significant golden dome, there is a two floors and the shrine (maqam) of al-nabi saeen. there is no prophet in Islam that holding the name saeen even that it is the mosque's name. a big water reservoir located in front of the mosque.
Canaanite altar in Tel Megiddo
  • El Mas-jad El Abiad – the white mosque. The white mosque, the first mosque in the city was built by Abdalla El Nini, two hundred years ago. El Nini was a well respected judge and the first of the El Fahum tribe (El Fahum means the wisest of man). He set forth a policy that preaches for love and respect. In order to make sure his policy will continue after his death, he wrote in his will that the responsibility on the mosque will be given to the wisest of his sons or daughters or to the Ka-a-bee in Mecca so that the mosque will not be governed under any rule. Till today, the person responsible for the mosque (Ateph El Fahum reads all the sermons before they are preached to make sure they are fit and in honor of holidays of other religions sermons are being addressed in their honor. Opening hours: All light hours except praying hours and without pre arrangement.

Notes: please dress modestly and speak softly. In carpeted areas please take off shoes.

  • The Ethnological Museum at the Saraya
  • Old Ottoman Houses with Ornated Ceilings - possible to visit with tours only

Around Nazareth:

Menorah made from stone in the ancient Jewish necropolis of Beth Shearim near Nazareth.
  • Tel Megiddo - Armageddon, a World Heritage Site. A Biblical tel with an extensive underground water system
  • Beth Shearim - a talmudic Jewish necropolis
  • Seppheris - a Roman town famous for its synagogue and marvellous mosaics. the Church of St. Anne marks the place where the house of Joachim and Anne was located, there is also a Jewish shrine of the tomb of Judah the Prince (another traditions says that its burial site is in Beth Shearim)
  • Nain - marks the site of the Raising of the son of the widow of Nain. the Franciscan church is located near the village's main mosque and maintained for pilgrims by an Arab Christian family living in front of the church (the village is Muslim)
  • Nabi Dahi - the shrine of the tomb of Dahia Bin Khalifa al-Kalbi which was the envoy who delivered Islamic prophet Muhammad's message to the Roman Emperor Heraclius, the shrine is located of Moreh hill in the top of it near the village of Ed Dahi
  • Bethlehem of the Galilee - a German Templar town from the 19th Century
  • Mount Tabor - the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus. There Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches on the site. the garden of the Roman Catholic church includes archaeological remains of the mountain from many different periods
  • Cana - the site of the Marriage of Cana. There are Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches on the site

Do[edit][add listing]

Nazareth sayara in the old city.

Visit Nazareth during Christmas

The Christmas Eve in Nazareth is only second to Bethlehem by its importance, pray in a big mass at the Catholic Basilica of the Annunciation or the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, the Christmas Market is special only for Nazareth in Christmas which includes Arab Food, Souvenirs and more.

Walking Tour of the Old City (duration 3 hours)

The route begins at the Mary’s Well Square (ample parking nearby). Visit the recently renovated well area (el-Sabil). Opposite is the ancient bath house, also well worth a visit (entrance fee payable), including the pleasant souvenir shop Cactus and a guided tour followed by hot and cold drinks. The remains discovered beneath the shop are believed to date back to the early Roman era – the time of Jesus. From here continue to the nearby square to visit the famous Greek Orthodox St. Gabriel’s Church. This is the site at which, according to Greek Orthodox belief, Mary received the Annunciation from the Angel Gabriel. On exiting the church, walk along the Pilgrim’s Path towards the Municipality and the Mascobia building – an impressive project built in 1904 as a hospice for Russian pilgrims. Further along the Pilgrim’s Path, on Street 6098 (most of Nazareth’s streets are known by numbers rather than names), you reach Bishop’s Square. On the right is the Greek Orthodox Bishopric, a white building in the Greek style, faced on the opposite side by picturesque houses reminiscent of Venetian palazzos, which have recently been preserved and renovated. The house on the left is Authors’ House, an art institute. Continue along Street 6098 to an alley named Sebat Qa’war until you reach Folklore House (Beit al-Sebat), the home of Tanous Qa’war, Nazareth’s first mayor in 1875. From Folklore House turn left to Street 6132 going towards the vegetable market, then left again to Street 6089. Here you can visit Casa Palestina, a beautiful building that from 1810 was used to store barley, where the owners will tell you the history of the place. There is a café bar here, where you can take a break with Arabic coffee or a cold beer, as well as enjoying a free exhibition of handicrafts. Leaving Casa Palestina, pass through a vault leading to the Saraya building, the center of Ottoman rule from 1735 onwards. This attractive building is currently undergoing preservation work in preparation for conversion to a municipal museum.

Christmas Eve in Nazareth.

Returning to the direction of the vegetable market and the courtyard of the White Mosque with its pencil-shaped minaret, walk along Street 6133 into the well-preserved and restored market. Stroll through lanes and alleys leading off to the right and left and investigate the shops with their great variety of goods. Among these alleys you will find the Synagogue Church. Eventually you will emerge opposite the Basilica of the Annunciation, an essential highlight of any tour of the city.

Hike the Jesus Trail (4 days - Nazareth to Capernaum)

Beginning at the Basilica of the Annunciation, the route winds through the Old City up to the Salesian Church and continues on to Zippori National Park, Mash'had and Cana for the first day. The trail is blazed with white/orange/white painted stripes, and more information can be found on the trail's official website [5].

  • Hike the Nativity Trail. Trek along the path that took Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

A souq (Arab market) extends up the hill from the Church of the Annunciation.

Eat[edit][add listing]

The city’s many restaurants provide a variety of Arab cuisines.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Right behind Mary's Well is a restaurant/bar called Al Bayat "The House". You can find pretty much any kind of alcoholic drink you like there and an extensive menu of international fusion cuisine. Locals like the outdoor patio for a local Palestinian beer called Taybeh, "Tasty" with complimentary pretzels and peanuts. Local musicians also play some nights.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Fauzi Azar Inn, Old City. Tel:04-6020469 (e-mail: [email protected]), [6]. The Fauzi Azar Inn is the best starting-off point for touring the Galilee & Nazareth. The Inn is a 200 years Arab Mansion located at the heart of the market quarters of Nazareth, a short distance from the Central Bus Station and the Basilica of the Annunciation
  • Galilee Hotel, Paul 6th St. Nazareth (just north of the post office), Tel:06-6571311 Fax: 06-6556627, e-mail: [email protected], [7]. The hotel is situated near the town center,is a four minute walk from the main tourist center and can host 200 people, in 92 rooms, each having air-conditioning and private bathrooms.
  • Grand New Hotel [8], 5053/1 Har Hamutran, Tel: +972-4-6085400, Fax 972-4-6573020, email- [email protected] Situated on one of the highest slope in Nazareth, The Hamutran Hill, in a quiet residential area. The hotel consists of 90 rooms overlooking the city of Nazareth, the Basilica of the Annunciation and the landscapes of the Jezreel Valley.
  • Nazareth Gardens Hotel, Tel: 972-4-6026666, (Fax: 972-4-6026676), [9]. The hotel was designed to blend into the pastoral landscapes and to compliment the awe-inspiring beauty of its natural surroundings. Temporarily closed as of March 2006.
  • Nazareth. Paulus VI St. (next to intersection with Haifa Rd.), tel: +972 (0)6 577 777.
  • Rimonim Hotel Nazareth (Ha’Maayan) (Rimonim Hotel Nazareth (HaMaayan)), Paul's VI Road, P.O.Box 2767 Nazareth 16000 Tel:972-4-6500000. Hotel in Nazareth is located in the center of the old city of Nazareth, close to the Church of the Annunciation, Suk, restaurants and other quaint tourist sites. The Hotel’s 226 comfortable rooms include air condition, cable TV, radio, in-room-safe and fax-modem connection. Business travelers are offered secretarial services, business lounge, meeting rooms and conference halls. The hotel has a covered parking garage.  edit
  • Nazareth Plaza Hotel, 2 Hermon Street, Phone: +972-4-6028200, (Fax: +972-4-6028222, E-mail: [email protected]). The Nazareth Plaza Hotel overlooks the historical old city of Nazareth, and is close to Migdal Haemek Industrial park. It is conveniently located for excursions to Galilee religious sites and well situated as a center for trips to the north of Israel.
  • Golden Crown Hotel Nazareth, 2015 Mt of the Precipice Street. The Golden Crown hotel is situated at the southern entrance to Nazareth, alongside the Mount of Precipice and overlooking the marvelous landscapes of the picturesque Jezreel Valley.
  • Samira Guest House, Sibat Kawar St. 6098/10 Nazareth – 16000 (The guest house is situated in the heart of the beautiful old city), +972 (0)77 551 72 75, [1]. At the Samira Guest House you will be in the centre of the old city of Nazareth within easy walking distance to many of the religious sites the city is know for including the Orthodox Annunciation church, the White Mosque and the Basilica of Annunciation. Sami the owner/manager of Samira Guest House is a local from Nazareth giving him a wealth of knowledge about the community. Speaking English, Hebrew and Arabic he can give the best tips for Nazareth, the sites, the restaurants, the transportation, the best places in the Galilee and much more than you can imagine.  edit
  • Nazareth Hostel Al Nabaa, 6137, Nazareth, Israel (Next to Mensa Christi Church), 052-8766053, [2]. Email:<[email protected]>. This guesthouse is owned by Tony, Basma and their two children, Sally and Geris. Tony speaks English, Hebrew and Arabic. It is in an excellent location in the old city neighborhood, close to all main churches and the market. It offers both dorm beds as well as private rooms with or without bathrooms. It has a beautiful garden with fast free Wi-Fi throughout the property and a complimentary daily breakfast with hot dishes. Great value and highly recommended.  edit
  • Vitrage Guesthouse, Old City, 05-28776411 (), [3]. This family run guesthouse is right in the middle of the old city, a short walk from the major attractions and a great base from which to explore Nazareth.  edit

Get out[edit]

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