Tourist’s guide to the City of Nazareth in Israel – Traveling in Gospel Cities

The city of Nazareth is a settlement located in the north of Israel. It is home to 75 thousand inhabitants. The main feature is the largest city in the state, where Christians and Muslims coexist peacefully. Nazareth became famous primarily for its religious sights, because Joseph and Mary lived here, this is the city where Christ spent the first years of his life. Where is the city of Nazareth, what route can be reached from Tel Aviv, which Orthodox sights are most revered and visited – read about this and much more in our review.

City of Nazareth

Photo: Nazareth

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Nazareth city – description, general information

Walk the streets of Nazareth

In many religious sources, Nazareth is mentioned as a settlement in Israel, where Jesus Christ grew up and lived for many years. Over two millennia, millions of pilgrims come to Nazareth annually to honor the memorial shrines.

The historical part of the settlement is being updated, but the authorities retain the original appearance of the settlement. In Nazareth there were characteristic narrow streets, unique architectural objects.

Modern Nazareth in Israel is the most Christian and, at the same time, Arab city in the state. According to statistics, 70% are Muslims, 30% are Christians. Nazareth is the only settlement where they rest on Sunday.

Interesting fact! In the temple of Mensa Christie, a stove was preserved that served Christ as a table after the resurrection.

Historical excursion

In the history of the city of Nazareth in Israel there are no high-profile events and exciting ups and downs. In the past, it was a small settlement where two dozen families lived, cultivating land and winemaking. People lived peacefully and calmly, but for Christians around the world, Nazareth is forever inscribed in history along with Jerusalem, as well as Bethlehem.

Byzantine Mosaic of Nazareth

In many religious texts, the word Nazareth is mentioned, but not as the name of a settlement, but in the meaning of the word “branch.” The fact is that during Jesus Christ, a modest settlement did not fall into the chronicles of Israel.

The first mention of Nazareth in Israel dates from the year 614. At that time, the locals supported the Persians, who fought against Byzantium. In the future, this fact directly affected the history of the city – the Byzantine army completely destroyed local residents.

This is what Nazareth looked like in 1842

Over the course of many centuries, Nazareth often turned to representatives of different religions and cultures. It was ruled by the crusaders, the Arabs. As a result, the city was in a deplorable state, but the restoration was proceeding rather slowly. For several centuries, few people remembered Nazareth. In the 17th century, Franciscan monks settled on its territory, they restored the Church of the Annunciation with their own money. In the 19th century, Nazareth was a successful, rapidly developing city.

In the middle of the 20th century, the British tried to capture the city, but the Israeli army repelled the onslaught. Modern Nazareth is an important religious center for pilgrimage.

Sights of Nazareth

Most of the memorable, tourist places are associated with religion. Many tourists come here to visit the shrines. The list of the most visited attractions includes the Cathedral of the Annunciation.

Temple of the Annunciation in Nazareth in Israel

The Catholic shrine proudly rises not far from the city center; it was built on the site of the shrines erected by the Crusaders and Byzantines. The attraction is a large complex built around the Annunciation Cave. It was here that Mary learned the good news of the Immaculate Conception.

Temple of the Annunciation in Nazareth in Israel

The height of the structure is 55 meters, the building looks more like a fortress. The architecture and decoration combines modern design and old church decoration. To decorate the upper church, mosaics from many countries were used.

Good to know! This is the largest shrine in the Middle East, the only church topped with a dome. It is from here that it is recommended to start a visit to the religious sights of Nazareth in Israel.

Lower level of the Temple of the Annunciation

The basilica consists of several levels:

  • Lower – unique historical relics of the period of the Byzantine Empire, the crusaders are collected here, the stone house of the Byzantine period is preserved;
  • Upper – was built 10 years instead of the shrine of the 18th century, a distinctive feature – stained glass windows.

Good to know! An adjoining garden connects the attraction with St. Joseph’s Church.

Upper level of the Basilica of the Annunciation

Practical information:

  • the entrance is free;
  • work schedule: in the warm season from Monday to Saturday – from 8-30 to 11-45, then from 14-00 to 17-50, on Sunday – from 14-00 to 17-30, in the winter months from Monday to Saturday from 9-00 to 11-45, then 14-00 to 16-30, Sunday – entrance;
  • Basilica address: Casanova St .;
  • a prerequisite – modest clothing and a covered head for women.
Temple of St. Joseph

Franciscan church decorated in a modern style. The building was built on the spot where Joseph’s workshop was located in the past, respectively, the landmark was named in his honor. Inside are: an old well still filled with water, a barn dating back to the 2nd century BC, there are caves, Joseph worked in one. Pilgrims from all over the world come here.

Temple of St. Joseph

Practical information:

  • It is located near the north entrance to the Cathedral of the Annunciation;
  • work schedule: every day from 7-00 to 18-00;
  • the entrance is free;
  • modest clothing is required.
Frescoes in the Church of St. Joseph
International Center of Mary of Nazareth

This attraction is more like a museum complex. Here are collected various images of the Virgin Mary, collected from around the world. The interiors are quite spacious, bright, beautifully decorated.

International Center of Mary of Nazareth

Important! Women are not allowed to enter the Center in short skirts. With bare shoulders, arms and neck.

Practical information:

In the international center of Mary of Nazareth
  • the attraction is located in the central part of Nazareth;
  • there is a parking nearby;
  • bells ring at noon daily;
  • it is best to visit the Center until noon, after 12-00 services begin and are restricted for tourists, from 14-00 the temple is again open for free visits;
  • you can buy a tour at the Center, the guide will tell you in detail about the life of the Virgin Mary;
  • be sure to take a walk in the courtyard of the Center, there are many different plants collected – more than 400 species;
  • Souvenir shop
  • you can climb the roof and admire the view of Nazareth;
  • on the territory of the Center there is a souvenir shop and cafe;
  • Address: Casa Nova Street, 15A;
  • work schedule: every day, except Sunday from 9-00 to 12-00 and from 14-30 to 17-00.

Cana of Galilee

If you leave Nazareth and move along the highway number 754, you will find yourself in the settlement of Cana of Galilee. It was this way that Jesus Christ followed after being expelled from the city.

Settlement Cana of Galilee

Interesting fact! Cana was named Galilee so that the locals would not get confused, since there was another Cana not far from Zora.

Interesting facts about Cana of Galilee:

  • in the past it was a large settlement connecting the capital with Tiberius;
  • it was here that Jesus performed the first miracle – turned water into wine;
  • today in Cana there are several churches: “The First Miracle” – it looks modest in appearance, but the interior is rich, “Weddings” – a baroque building, “St. Bartholomew” – a rectangular structure, the facade is not decorated in any way.
Church nameScheduleFeatures
“The First Miracle”Every day from 8-00 to 13-00, from 16-00 to 18-00the entrance is free
“Weddings”From April to the beginning of autumn: from 8-00 to 12-00, from 14-30 to 18-00. From October to March: from 8-00 to 12-00, from 14-30 to 17-00.Admission is free, photo and video are allowed.

Practical information:

Cana of Galilee on the map
  • on the maps, the name of the attraction is indicated as Kafr Kana;
  • among the local population, only 11% of Christians;
  • from Nazareth to Cana of Galilee buses follow – No. 431 (Nazareth-Tiberias), No. 22 (Nazareth-Cana);
  • one of the attractions of Cana of Galilee is the local wine, it is sold in temples, shops, in street shops ;;
  • eyewitnesses claim that in Qana the most delicious pomegranates in all of Israel.
Observation deck on Mount Overthrow

The attraction is a small green hill, located near Nazareth in Israel. This place is described in detail in the Bible. It was here that Jesus Christ delivered a sermon that indignant the locals so much that they decided to drop him from a rock nearby.

Observation deck on Mount Overthrow

The hill is the site of excavations, during which the ruins of a temple dating from the 8th century were discovered. In addition, traces of the stay of the Byzantine empire were found.

It is noteworthy that the Orthodox and Catholic faiths do not have a common opinion on the exact location of the mountain. Christians believe that the attraction is closer to Nazareth, in this place even a church was built. Catholics believe that from Mount Tabor Virgin Mary watched the conflict that occurred between the local population and her son.

View from the observation deck

Interesting fact! There is no mention in the Gospel of how Jesus Christ escaped from an angry mob of city dwellers. According to one of the legends, he himself jumped from a mountain and landed below, without receiving any injuries.

At the top of the hill there is a viewing platform with a picturesque view of the valley, the city of Nazareth and the neighboring Mount Tabor.

View of Mount Tabor

Practical information:

  • admission to the observation deck is free;
  • the nearest public transport stop is Amal School;
  • can be reached by buses No. 42, 86, 89.
Temple of the Archangel Gabriel

One of the main Orthodox sights – it was here that the Annunciation happened. For the first time, an angel appeared to the Virgin Mary right here, at the well. In the underground part there is still a Holy spring, to which millions of pilgrims come.

Temple of the Archangel Gabriel

The first shrine appeared here in the 4th century; during the Crusader period, the sanctuary was upset in a large temple decorated with marble. In the mid-13th century, the attraction was destroyed by the Arabs.

The modern church was erected in the middle of the 18th century, fully finishing work was completed by the end of the 19th century.

In the temple of Gabriel

The entrance to the attraction is decorated with powerful gates and a canopy, which is supported by elegant columns. The central element is a bell tower with a cross. The frescoes, ancient Romanesque columns, and elaborate painting are preserved in the design of the church.

Interesting fact! The icon of the Annunciation is represented in the underground chapel.

Well of the Virgin Mary
Well of Mary

One hundred meters from the church is another attraction – a well, next to which Mary first saw an angel. For a thousand years it was the only one in the city.

The Temple of the Archangel Gabriel is also called the Temple of the Annunciation, but this only creates confusion – many tourists mistakenly take the church for the Basilica of the Annunciation. Buildings are located half a kilometer apart.

Megiddo National Park

Translated from the local language, the word Megiddo means armageddon. Many tourists wonder – why is such a beautiful place in the Jezreel Valley associated with a terrible end of the world?

Megiddo National Park

Tel Megiddo is a hill located in the western part of the valley, nearby there is a settlement named as well. In the past, it was a large, successful city. The settlement was built in a strategically important place. Today, the area around the hill is recognized as a national park.

The height of the attraction is approximately 60 meters, 26 archaeological and cultural layers are found here. The first settlements appeared in the 4th millennium BC. And the city was founded a thousand years later.

Jezreel Valley was of great importance, this led to the fact that over the millennia, hundreds of battles took place here. The first battle took place in the 15th century BC, and at the beginning of the 20th century, the army of General Allenby defeated the Turks, so their rule in Palenstine was completely over.

On an excursion to Megiddo National Park

Today Megiddo Park is a huge archaeological area where excavations have been ongoing for over a hundred years. Specialists were able to detect artifacts dating back to the 4th century BC. The view from the hill is bewitching. Be sure to visit the place where the battle of good and evil took place.

Practical information:

  • address: 35 km from Haifa (highway number 66);
  • the cost of visiting: for adults – 29 shekels, for children – 15 shekels;
  • the attraction works every day from 8-00 to 16-00, and in the winter months – until 15-00.

Where to stay in Nazareth

Room Antique Guest House
Antique guest house

The city of Nazareth in Israel is more religious than tourist. In this regard, there are few hotels, accommodation must be taken care of in advance. The most popular tourist accommodation format is guest houses and hostels. Given that Nazareth is an Arab settlement, here, of course, you can find rich hotels with pools.

Living together in a guest house will cost 250 shekels, a room in a three-star hotel costs from 500 shekels a day, and in an expensive hotel you will have to pay 1000 shekels.

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How to get from Tel Aviv

Nazareth – the city where Jesus Christ was born, millions of travelers come here every year. Most travelers get to Nazareth from Ben Gurion Airport Terminal or directly from Tel Aviv.

Important! There are no direct flights from Ben Gurion to the city of Nazareth, therefore, tourists travel by train to Haifa and then transfer to the bus that goes to the final destination.

Train to Haifa

Train tickets are booked in advance, on the official website of the Israeli Railways or purchased at the box office. The fare to Haifa is 35.50 shekels. The journey takes 1.5 hours. Trains depart directly from the airport terminal and follow through Tel Aviv. In Haifa, the train arrives at the train station, from where buses leave for Nazareth. You will have to spend about 1.5 hours on the road.

Bus number 826

You can also get to Nazareth from the bus station in Tel Aviv. Flights No. 823 and No. 826. The trip is designed for 1.5 hours. The ticket price is approximately 50 shekels.

The most comfortable way is to take a taxi or book a transfer. The trip will cost 500 shekels.

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The city of Nazareth is rightfully considered the most visited religious attraction in Israel. No less pilgrims come here than in Jerusalem. Tourists are attracted to the birthplace of Jesus Christ, places that are mentioned in the Bible, where a special atmosphere reigns.

All prices on the page are for March 2019.



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