Nazareth

World-renowned religious sites, a beautiful old city, a vibrant market, and much more, in the beautiful Nazareth in the lower Galilee.
Church Of Annunciation, Nazareth, Northern Israel

Nazareth: historical sites in the Galilee mountains.

As the biggest arabic city in Israel, and the site of tremendously important religious and historical sites, a visit to Nazareth is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s unique culture. Mixed with beautiful architecture and beautiful mountain views, it truly is a site not to be missed.

located right at the border between the Jezreel Valley and the Lower Galilee, Nazareth is one of the oldest and most important cities in Israel. With a beautiful old city, a great culinary scene, and of course, important religious sites attracting millions of visitors, there are many good reasons to include Nazareth in your itinerary.

The History of Nazareth

Archaeological research and excavations prove that in prehistoric times people lived in caves in the Nazareth area. The findings included complete skeletons, stone tools, and remains of animals such as deer antlers. These are the earliest evidence linking Nazareth to the region where humanity began to develop.

Many years later, according to Christian tradition, Jesus’ family lived in Nazareth where the angel Gabriel appeared and announced to Mary about his birth. After that, the family migrated to Bethlehem where he was born, and returned to Nazareth where Jesus grew up and worked as a carpenter until the age of 30. As a result of this tradition, Nazareth became a center of attraction for Christian believers from all over the world who visit the Christian sites in the city to follow the family and life of Jesus.

During the Byzantine period, Nazareth began to become a holy city, and many churches were built here. With the period of the Arab Empire that brought Islam to the Land of Israel, Nazareth ceased to be a Christian religious center and was renamed. When the Crusaders conquered the land, the city returned to prosperity and became a large and important city for the many pilgrims who came here.

During the Ottoman empire’s rule, the Christian minority was allowed to rebuild Nazareth and the city began to flourish. In this time, the White Mosque and the French and Italian hospitals were built and the Haifa – Nazareth road was paved, connecting Nazareth to the rest of the cities around it.

Today Nazareth is the largest Arabic city in Israel and an important tourist, cultural and economic center. In 2000, Pope John Paul II visited the city, and in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI visited it, during which the city underwent an extensive renovation.

Best places to visit in Nazareth

Church of the Annunciation

The Church of the Annunciation was built over the cave where, according to Christian belief, Mary lived, and where she was informed by the angel Gabriel about her pregnancy. The church was built and destroyed many times throughout history. The one that stands here today was inaugurated in 1969, and the remains of the previous churches were incorporated into it.

On the lower level is the Annunciation Cave, which has three chapels with altars, reddish rock pillars, a mosaic, and the remains of churches from the Byzantine and Crusader periods. On the upper level is the prayer hall where you can see large and impressive mosaics, which were donated from Christian communities around the world. The doors of the church are covered with bronze and copper, and above them stand statues and carvings of important figures in Christianity. The dome of the hall is built in the shape of a white lily, the flower associated with Mary, and rises to a height of almost sixty meters above the cave.

St. Gabriel Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation

In the crypt of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation lies a spring on whose edge, so the Greek-Orthodox believe, Mary was informed of her pregnancy. The Church of St. Gabriel is small, but is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the country thanks to the multitude of icons, the beautiful wall paintings, and the magnificent chandeliers. The existing building was built in the 18th century on the remains of a Crusader church.

Nazareth Old City Alleys

Without a doubt, the best way to experience the beautiful Old City of Nazareth is to get lost in the alleys. Here you will find white alleys interspersed with colorful shops, white-green corners with plants bursting from the walls, and in the evening, warm street lighting that gives Nazareth a romantic vibe.

Mount Precipice

Mount Precipice is the location where, according to Christianity, Jesus had escaped from the people of Nazareth, who chased after him because of his prophecies. When the pursuers almost caught up with him, he jumped from the edge of the mountain and disappeared. Mount Precipice became famous when Pope Benedict XVI, who visited Israel as a pilgrim in 2009, held a huge mass ceremony there, which was attended by about forty thousand people from all around the world.

Even beyond the sites’ immense religious importance, the stunning view from Mount Precipice makes it a great visit for nature lovers as well. From the edge of the mountain, you will get an amazing view of Afula and the villages around it, with the houses of Tel Adashim below looking like little cubes. To the south, the beautiful and historical Jezreel Valley, from the Tabor in the east to the Menashe mountains in the west, will spread in front of you.

Nazareth Market

In the ancient Nazareth Market, you can find several spice shops, fabrics, jewelry, department stores, and more. In the artisans’ alley, you will find ancient crafts such as knife makers, and in the nearby vegetable market square you will see some unique Israeli vegetables, unknown even to most locals. The large house that dominates the square of the vegetable market is the home of the Al-Fahoum family, one of the oldest and most well-known in Nazareth. Under the house, there are two bakeries: one which makes a special pretzel, and another in which you can eat excellent pizza. Further down the street, look for the roasting house of the Al-Fahoum family, which is one of the best and most famous in Israel.

 

Opening hours

Most of Nazareth's landmarks are closed on Sundays.
From Monday to Saturday, the churches are open from 8:00-17:00.

Parking and transportation

Parking is not hard to come by in the city.
It is also possible to get here by bus, with line 823 from Tel Aviv.

Accessibility arrangements

Search for posts and destinations

What would you like to find? Search here information and ideas about any location in Israel

Planning your trip to Israel?

Join our exclusive Facebook group for the latest travel tips, real-time updates, travel hacks, and connect with local experts & fellow Israel enthusiasts in our Facebook group