One of the most interesting and attractive cities to any travelers who come to Israel is actually not in Israel. Bethlehem, about 10 km south of Jerusalem consider one of the most central cities of the west bank and the Palestine state.
Dozens of thousands of tourists come every year to visit Bethlehem. A lot of them are Christian pilgrims attracted by the Church of the Nativity, located in the city. but Bethlehem has many cool things to offer to tourists, but the Christian aspect. In the following text, we will discover some of the main benefits of Bethlehem.
The Place Where Christianity Began
Bethlehem is a tourist-driven city, and a major part of its economy is based on tourism. As mentioned, the main reason for that is the church of Nativity placed in the city. according to the Christian tradition, Jesus was born in a cave in Bethlehem. His place of born became naturally a holy site for the Christians, and the modest cave became within the years a beautiful basilica.
The church of nativity has a fancy history itself. It had a lot of changes and renovations which were inspired by the people who ruled the country at the moment, such as the Crusaders, Ottomans and more. Today it is an impressive church with unique decorations, fancy isles and a beautiful main altar.
Christmas in the Church of Nativity is a very special occasion. The Catholic Mass on Christmas Eve is broadcast all over the world and a huge number of believers watch it. The Christmas special spirit of Bethlehem is something very colorful and attractive with a lot of festivals and celebrations taking place in the city.
Israel from a Different Perspective
Israel is a complicated place. The Arab-Jewish conflict is something that has a massive influence on the country and the whole world. Visit Bethlehem or the West Bank in general, is a good opportunity to see Israel from other eyes and learn important things about the most interesting country in the world.
There are a lot of West Bank daily tours, which are offering informative and tangible history lessons. If you have enough time in Israel, visit in the Palestinian state is a must-visit station.
One of the most fun things to do on vacation abroad is buy gifts and souvenirs which are unique to the place. Bethlehem has a variety of goods and cheap prices, which makes it a perfect spot for souvenir lovers. Many local stores are offering handy crafts and unique items relating to the area and Christianity. Great place to fill in your suitcases with tangible memories from your trip.
and Drink in Bethlehem
As a tourist-driven city, Bethlehem has a lot of what to offer in the aspect of culinary. There are many cool places to sit, eat and drink in the city, such as modern snack bars, rooftops with amazing views of the close area and so on. Like many other main cities in the Middle East, the local cuisine of Bethlehem is just fantastic, with a lot of traditional dishes that did a good transformation to the modern reality. So. Don’t skip the opportunity to have a nice cocktail or delicious meal on the West Bank.
The Jewish connection
Bethlehem is famous worldwide for it is importance to Christianity, but it has also an important Jewish holy site – the tomb of Rachel, the second wife of Jacob and one of the biblical Foremothers, is located at the entrance to the city. Many Jewish believers come to the city to prey on the tomb. A common custom related to Rachel’s Tomb is to tie a red string on the hand and circle the site seven times, as a charm for fertility.
With a major of Muslim population and important holy sites for Judaism and Christianity, Bethlehem is a fascinating city from any aspect. Visiting the city is a great choice and we hope you do it on your trip to Israel.