Nazareth is the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical events.
Here you will find everything you need to know before visiting this holy city!
- Why is Nazareth important?
- Where is Nazareth located?
- What are the main Christian attractions in Nazareth?
- What should I know before visiting Nazareth?
- Are there any fun facts about Nazareth?
Why is Nazareth important?
Nazareth is the childhood home of baby Jesus, where he grew up.
In English translations of the New Testament, the phrase “Jesus of Nazareth” appears seventeen times!
The city was also the home village of Mary, and the place where angel Gabriel informed Mary that she would give birth to Jesus.
Where is Nazareth located?
The city is located In the north of Israel, in the area known as Lower Galilee. It is about 25 km (15 mi) west of the Sea of Galilee.
What are the main Christian attractions in Nazareth?
Nazareth is home to dozens of monasteries and churches, many of them in the Old City.
The main ones include:
- The Church of the Annunciation – this is the largest Catholic church in the Middle East! In Roman Catholic tradition, it marks the site where the Archangel Gabriel announced the future birth of Jesus to Mary. The Church of St. Gabriel is an alternative Greek Orthodox site for the Annunciation, also located in Nazareth.
- The Synagogue Church – this is a small Christian church in the heart of Nazareth. It is believed to be a Synagogue where Jesus studied, prayed and preached. Above its doorway is an embedded sign: “the synagogue”.
- The St. Joseph’s Church (Roman Catholic) – this church marks the traditional location for the workshop of Saint Joseph.
- The Mensa Christi Church – this church is run by the Franciscan religious order, and commemorates the traditional location where Jesus dined with the Apostles.
- Mount Precipice – just south of Nazareth, in the cliffs of Mt Kedumim, is Mount Precipice. Off of here, an angry mob attempted to throw Jesus after his bold proclamation in the Nazareth synagogue. But luckily, Jesus “passed through the midst of them and went away.”
The site offers a panoramic view of the Jezreel Valley and Mount Tabor, and is especially nice at sunrise.
- The Jesus Trail – this is a pilgrimage route that connects many of the religious sites in Nazareth on a 60 km (37 mi) walking trail which ends in Capernaum.
What should I know before visiting Nazareth?
Nazareth has a culinary renaissance, and is now home to over 100 restaurants!
Nazareth’s Old City is most famous for its traditional shuk (Arabic for market), where you can find traditional Arabic produce.
Are there any fun facts about Nazareth?
- Nazareth is the largest city in the Northern District of Israel, and has a population of about 80,000 people (mainly Arab citizens of Israel, about 31% are Christians).
- It is also Israel’s largest Arab city.
- Every year around Christmas time, you can find a huge Christmas market in Nazareth. Then, you will find stands with Christmas decorations, book tours and gaze at the tallest Christmas tree in Israel (and in some years, in all of the Middle East!)