Nazareth (in Hebrew, Nazerat; in Arabic, En-Nasra) is the largest Arab town in Israel, with a mixed population of Christian and Muslim Arabs.
Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Nazareth

The world’s Christians believe that this city of churches is the location of the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary, making it a popular tourist destination and place of pilgrimage.

Additionally, it’s considered that Jesus spent his teenage years there. He is also said to have worked his first miracle at the adjacent settlement of Cana.

The Church of the Annunciation is usually at the top of visitors’ lists of things to see while in town. After you’ve had your fill of visiting churches, schedule some time to explore Nazareth’s market area. With our list of the top tourist attractions and activities to do, you can choose the finest locations to visit during your vacation.

Visit the Mary of Nazareth International Center

Don’t miss the Mary of Nazareth International Center, which is located across from the Religious of the Annunciation, if you want to learn more about Nazareth’s significance in Christian beliefs to go along with your church visits.

The center, which is run by the Catholic community of Chemin Neuf, features a Biblical multimedia display, a number of film exhibits, and an explanation of Mary’s biography, her depiction in the Bible and Qur’an, the history of early Christianity, and the Eastern Church.

Additionally, there is a small archaeological dig nearby that reveals the remains of a home from the first century AD as well as a sizable, exquisitely planted garden with a welcoming café and fantastic views of Nazareth.

Address: Town Center, Annunciation Street

History of Nazareth

The hill where the Church of the Annunciation and St. Joseph’s Church are located was occupied from the time of the patriarchs onward, according to excavations that began in 1955. (2nd millennium BC).

The village’s little homes were constructed on top of graves dating back to the second millennium and subterranean chambers made from the local tufa and utilized as storage spaces throughout the first half of the first millennium BC.

Jesus is claimed to have resided in Nazareth up to his John the Baptist baptism. The name of Nazareth first appears in the New Testament in the narrative of the Annunciation.

The Grotto of the Annunciation developed into a revered pilgrimage site during the early Christian era, and the current church is the sixth to be constructed there.

Church of the Annunciation

The current Church of the Annunciation was constructed in 1969 and is regarded as one of the most significant churches of modern times in Israel and at the top of the list of things to do in Nazareth. But according to archeological data, a church has stood here since at least the third century AD.

A second church was built here during the fourth century by the Empress Helena (mother of Constantine the Great, who governed the Byzantine realm from his headquarters in present-day Istanbul), but it was destroyed by the Persians in AD 614.

Later, the Crusaders constructed a basilica with three aisles. A second time, Sultan Baibars destroyed it.

The location remained vacant until the Franciscans were given permission to erect a new church in 1730.

The Crusader church served as the model for the current Church of the Annunciation, which was erected to represent the history of all the churches that have been here. Older wall pieces served as the foundation for the side walls, which were added on top of the Crusader church’s east end apses.

A sizable octagonal aperture in the church’s floor provides a glimpse of the lower level and the earlier buildings below, including the Grotto of the Annunciation and the ruins of the first churches to be built there. The dome sits above this region, and one may view it from the upper church.

Address: Town Center, Annunciation Street

St. Joseph’s Church

The St. Joseph’s Church, constructed in 1914, is located right next to the Church of the Annunciation inside the same enclosure.

Believers have long claimed that the location on which it now stands was formerly home to Joseph’s carpenter business.

Apart from some contemporary fresco artwork showing Joseph and Jesus in a stained-glass window, St. Joseph’s is fairly tiny and simple (especially if you’ve already been to the Church of the Annunciation).

The primary attraction is the underground level, which is located under the present-day church and where excavation work has revealed a cistern and a number of storage pits that belong to the early first century AD.

Address: Town Center, Annunciation Street

Hike up to the Salesian Church of Jesus the Adolescent

Take the winding walk up the Mount of the Start to the Salesian Church of Jesus the Adolescent for views of Nazareth and the surrounding area.

The church was constructed in 1918 by French architect Lucia Gauthier in neo-Gothic style. Tradition holds that Jesus’ childhood home was located at this location.

Originally, the Salesian Catholic order of Nazareth operated an orphanage out of the surrounding buildings on the property. They are now utilized as a vocational school by the religious order.

In the evenings, the church frequently has classical music events, so it’s worth seeing if anything is scheduled while you’re in town.

Salesian Street, Nazareth, California

Synagogue Church

The Synagogue Church, a member of the Greek Catholic Melkite community, is tucked away in Nazareth’s market center.

A entrance leading down into the synagogue, which Jesus is reputed to have frequented as a teenager, is located to the left of the entryway.

Contrary to popular perception, archaeological data suggests that the synagogue was most likely built as early as the 6th century AD.

The church was constructed in 1887, and it has a relatively opulent dome flanked by two bell towers.

Location: Town Center, Market district

St. Gabriel’s Church and Mary’s Well

One of the two locations in Nazareth where the Annunciation is said to have occurred is St. Gabriel’s Church, also referred to as the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation.

It was constructed over the community spring, the site of Mary’s first encounter with the Archangel Gabriel, according to Greek Orthodox legend. The spring is still flowing in the church’s basement crypt.

Excellent frescoes may be seen within the upper church and are well worth viewing.

Head south across Church Square to the appropriately named Mary’s Well Square, which adherents of the Eastern Orthodox Church consider to be the real location, if you want to see the second Mary’s well candidate.

Address: Town Center, Church Square

Mensa Christi Church

The 3.6-meter-long and three-meter-wide slab of stone is supposed to be the one that the resurrected Christ ate at with his followers in the Mensa Christi (Table of Christ) Church, a Franciscan building in the town center. The inside of the building is very basic.

The present church, which was constructed in 1861 on the site of an earlier church, has recently received substantial restorations.

The church is often locked, but the guardian is generally around, so you may ask for the key to enter by approaching them.

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