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Religious Sites in Nazareth (al-Nasira)

Contributed by Turathuna Bethlehem University on 18.10.2006:

Nazareth’s Old city is a wonderful Mediterranean mountain town. To make sure it stays that way, a municipal team has identified architectural and historical sites that should be preserved. One of them, at the foot of the ridge, is a large concentration of traditional two-story houses of Galilee stone, with tile roofs, patios, and inner courtyards. Most of these were built in the 1800s or the early 1900s.

Basilica of the Annunciation:

This large basilica stands over the Grotto of Annunciation and Home of Mary, where the Latin Church believes she received the news of her son’s impending birth. The first church on this site was a small one, built in 326 by one of Nazareth’s first converts, Joseph of Tiberias, after he applied for and received a building permit from the Emperor Constantine.

The church was re-built during the mid-fifth century and yet again during the Crusader period. It was destroyed during or after the battle between the Mamluk forces and the Crusaders in 1203. During the next 500 years, it was built and demolished at least half a dozen times. The current church dates from 1969, and was constructed on the site of a church built by the Franciscans in 1730. The Italian design of today’s church is one of the most unusual in the country.

Church of St. Joseph:

This church, sometimes called the Church of the Carpentry Shop, stands north of the Basilica of the Annunciation. Built in 1914 over an earlier church from the Crusader period, it preserves the home and workshop of Joseph, husband of Mary. It is a one-room church that monks use for meditation.

Maqam of Shihab ad-Din:

Shihab ad-Din was a nephew of the Prophet Muhammad who settled in Nazareth. This early Ottoman shrine (16th century), was built over what is believed to be his grave , just south of the Basilica.

Mary’s well and the Church of St.Gabriel (Orthodox Church):

The church of St.Gabriel houses a first century spring of water believed to be the source of Mary’s Well. The spring is connected to the site of the well by an underground aqueduct.

White Mosque:

Built in 1812, this popular mosque stands at the center of the Muslim community’s quarter in Nazareth, next to the covered marketplace. The tomb of Abdullah el- Fahoum, governor of Nazareth in the 1800s, is in the courtyard.

Source: Palestine A Guide by Mariam Shahin.

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