Nazareth is a popular Israel tour destination for Christian pilgrims and a diverse city home to a mix of races and religions. Nazareth lies in the lower Galilee, near the Sea of Galilee. With a population of 65,000, Nazareth is the largest city in the Northern District of Israel. It is known as the “Arab Capital of Israel” because its population consists primarily of Arab citizens. It also serves as an economic and cultural center for Arabs living in adjacent towns.
The Origin of Nazareth’s Name
Nazareth is thought to come from the Hebrew word netzer , which means “twig” or “branch”. Netzer also means “to keep”, which could be a reference to Nazareth’s location atop a mountain, which has allowed it to keep watch over Jezreel Valley, the site of several historical battles.
In biblical times, Nazareth was nothing more than a tiny agricultural village. The city was never mentioned in the Old Testament or in rabbinic literature, and it was never considered an important site in Jewish history. Jews did live in Nazareth during Jesus’ time, however.
Nazareth is an important Israel tour destination for Christians because Jesus spent most of his life there. It serves as a popular base for Christian pilgrims, owing to its proximity to several notable sites. Nazareth itself is also home to numerous religious attractions, including the following:
• Nazareth Village. A replica of a rural Jewish village constructed using information gained from archaeological excavations in the area. The site caters mostly to Christian travelers, but it also features a recreated mikveh (ritual bath) and synagogue.
• Church of St. Gabriel. A Greek Orthodox Church built over Mary’s Well, where Mary and Jesus drew water on a daily basis. According to Greek Orthodox tradition, this church is the site of the Annunciation, where Gabriel appeared to tell Mary about the coming birth of Jesus.
• Church of the Annunciation. The largest church in the Middle East, the Church of the Annunciation was built over a small ancient cave that Catholics believe was the home of Mary. The Catholics also believe that this church is the site of the Annunciation, as its name suggests.
• St. Joseph’s Church. This church was once the location of the carpentry workshop where Joseph, Jesus’ worldly father, worked. According to some traditions, it was the site of Joseph’s home.
In addition to these popular religious attractions, Nazareth has plenty to offer Israel travel enthusiasts. Nazareth’s souk, which is located in the Old City, is an authentic Arab market that consists of narrow passageways teeming with tiny shops. Items you can purchase at the souk include coffee, pastries, fruits, vegetables, scarves, t-shirts, and antiques. Smelling the spices and sampling the local foods while exploring this unique market is an unforgettable experience. Most of Nazareth’s major attractions are located in and around the market’s passageways.
See, Hear, Feel, Taste, and Smell Nazareth with Israel Tours
Our guides will bring Nazareth’s ancient sites to life before your own eyes.
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