The Church of the Nativity
The Church of the Nativity is the oldest Church in the Holy Land still in use. The first Church was built over the Grotto of the Nativity in the 4th century A.D under the patronage of the Roman Emperor Constantine’s mother Helena. Then in the 6th century the Byzantine Emperor Justinian built a new and even more elaborate church here. In the 7th century when the Persians invaded the Holy Land, they destroyed all the Christian churches they found except for this one. In the 11th century the crusader renovated the Church and
soon many pilgrims flocked here to worship. When visiting the Basilica you will also see the Basilica of St. Catherine built on the foundations of a Crusader Church erected in the 12th century. Also outside St. Catherine’s Basilica is the Cloister of St. Jerome, who is probably best known for translating the bible into Latin
Tel # 02-274-2425
Opening Hours: Summer Winter
Capacity for groups: Seated Total
- St. Catherine 500
- St. Joseph 75 90
- St. Jerome 40 50
- Manger 0 50
- St. Helen 50 50
The Milk Grotto
As tradition has it, the Milk Grotto is where Mary hid and nursed baby Jesus before her escape to Egypt. It is believed that some of Mary’s milk trickled down turning the rock white
Tel # 02-274-3867
Opening Hours Summer Winter
08:00 - 12:00 08:00 - 12:00
14:00 – 19:30 14:00 - 17:00
Capacity for Groups:Seated Total 100 150
While in Bethlehem, it is worth while visiting the Shepherd’s Field. Located 2 km east of Bethlehem in the town of Beit Sahour, Shepherd's Field is the site where the Angel of the Lord appeared before the Shepherd's bringing good tidings of the birth of Jesus.
Capacity for Groups: Seated Total
- The Big Grotto ( I Grotto) 120 120
- Grotta “IN EXCELSIS” ( II ) 45 45
- Cloister of IV century ( III ) 100 200
- The Monastery ( IV ) 100 200
- Grotta – Manger ( V ) 50 50
- Amphitheatre ( VI ) 50 50
- Angels Chapel 50 130
Tel # 02-277-2413
Opening Hours Summer Winter
08:00 - 12:00 08:00 - 12:00
14:00 – 19:30 14:00 - 17:00
St. Theodosius Monastery
Only 12 km east of Bethlehem, you can find the Monastery of St. Theodosius founded by St. Theodosius in the 5th century. The crypt of the monastery is said to be the place where the Three Wise Men stayed on their way to the Holy Manger.
Mar Saba Monastery
Located just 15 km east of Bethlehem, is the beautiful Mar Saba Monastery built into the rock overlooking the Kidron Valley. The Monastery was founded by St. Saba in the 5th century and still preserves a way of life unchanged since the time of Constantine. The Greek Orthodox Monastery is still active and does not allow women to enter. Its exterior is by far one of the most impressive and fascinating in the Holy land.
Located a mere 4 km south of Bethlehem, you can visit the Solomon’s Pools which although tradition attributes these 3 rectangular reservoirs of stone and masonry to King Solomon, these pools almost certainly date back as far as Herod. Also near the pools you can find Qalat al Burak, an ottoman fortress dating back to the 17th century.
Located south of Bethlehem, and derived from the Latin word Hordus meaning Paradise, Artas offers many ruins such as a Crusader convent, the foundations of the Crusader church an arab fortress and many other Byzantine, Crusadr and Islamic ruins.
Only 6 km southeast of Bethlehem lies the ancient fortress of Herodion. Built near the end of the 1st Century B.C by Herod the Great, the site includes the remains of a huge palace containing remains of a garden surrounded by columns, monumental buildings, storage buildings, a pool and a bathhouse. Also from Herodion one can also have a beautiful panoramic view of the town of Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Although Herod died in Jericho , he was buried in Herodion
Crib of the Nativity Theatre & Museum
When in Bethlehem, you cannot miss out on this Beautiful and innovative Theatre and Show. The Theatre and Museum offer visitors wonderful entertainment and a great experience.
The Museum offers visitors 31 magnificent 3 dimensional models which take the visitor on a trip across time and space starting with the Creation and highlighting the significant stages of Jesus’ life.
The Theatre offers a wonderful animated show , about 17 minutes.
The Exhibition captures the imagination and work of some of the most famous artists in the world as they try to depict the envision the miraculous birth of Jesus through the eyes of their various nations.
Tel # 02-276-0876
Fax # 02-276- 0877
Address: Ya hala complex – Manger Square Bethlehem
Badd Giacaman Museum
Located in the center of the old town of Bethlehem, just a few minutes walk from the Nativity Church is the Al Bad Museum for Olive Oil production. The building which houses the museum dates back as far as the 18-19th century. The restoration and rehabilitation of the site took place in 1998-2000 by the Department of Antiquities and in coordination with the UNDP and the Greek Orthodox Society.
The museum itself houses many ethnographic and archeological artifacts featuring the entire process of oil production. Furthermore, the exhibit also shows the many uses for oil such as lamps, medicine, food, soap and even cosmetics.
Baituna al Talhami Museum
While in Bethlehem, you cannot miss out on the Bethlehem Museum or the Baituna al Talhami Museum. Founded in 1972, the museum offers guest a true taste of Bethlehem traditions. Walk through an old home, see the traditional wedding attire, all purpose dress of the day. Many various designs of old embroidery, jewelry, Jacquets and more.
Also see the traditional kitchen , the (Rawye’) where domestic animals lived, the El Dar the principle room of traditional houses.
Anyone interested in cultural heritage cannot come to Bethlehem and miss out on this museum.
Tel # 02-274-2453
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday
10-12 a.m. & 14H30-17H00 pm.
Entrance fee: US 1$ per person
The International Museum of Nativity
The Museum was commissioned by UNESCO under the direction of Dr. Alfredo Troisi. The International Museum of the Nativity was created to show works of high artistic quality an evocative atmosphere. The building of the Salesian Institute which is the center of the Museum, is particularly suitable for this exhibition. The true climate and a significant spiritual experience created by the place, sounds, lights and multimedia increase the impact of the works exhibited from all over the world.
Tel # 02-274-7825
Fax # 02-274-7163
Opening Hours: Daily from 09:00 – 17:00.
July, August, September 09:00 – 18:00
Walking in the Old Town of Bethlehem
The brochure outlines 4 different walking tours throughout Bethlehem.
a. Bethlehem Heritage: (30 minutes)
(Madbasseh Square, Christmas Church, Dar Al Nadwa Center, City Market, Syriac Orthodox Church, Old Bethlehem Home Museum, Mosque of Omar, Manger Square, Nativity Church)
b. Discover Bethlehem (2-3 hours)
Manger Square, Nativity Church, Old Bethlehem Home Museum, Al-Manar Square, Dar Mansour , Salesian Church & Convent, Nativity Museum, Christmas Church, Dar Al Nadwa Cultural Center, City Market, Olive Press Museum, Dar Talamas, Al-Ain spring, Harat Al – Antarah, Milk Grotto.
c. Patriarch’s Route (30 minutes)
Star Street, Salestian Church & Convent, Nativity Museum, Greek Orthodox Church, Old Gate “Qoos aas Zarara”, Hosh Siryan, Dar Mansour, The Old Bethlehem Home Museum, Mosque of Omar, Manger Square, Nativity Church)
d. The Quarters of Bethlehem (30 minutes)
(Madbasseh Square, Christmas Church, Dar Al Nadw Cultural Center, Qoos Al- Abid, City Market, Olive Press and Museum, Mosque of Omar, Manger Square, Nativty Church)
Palestinian Heritage Center
The Palestinian Heritage Center (PHC) was established in 1991 in Bethlehem by Mrs. Maha Saca. The main objectives of the center are the preservation and promotion of Palestinian folklore heritage as well as the art of embroidery. To promote the Palestinian culture to young Palestinian as well as tourists and visitors. The center offers many services to its guests such as, the exhibition of traditional costumes and jewelry, the Bedouin Tent, a Palestinian living room, a photo gallery, small cultural library, a gift shop, a photo shoot, lectures, dress rentals, and more.
Opening hours: Daily from 09:00-14:00 & 16:00-21:00
P.O.Box: 146 Bethlehem , Palestine
International Center of Bethlehem
Established in 1995, the ICB is directly involved in many projects and programs such as intensive guide training programs, language training programs, women’s studies, arts, crafts and music.
The design of the center, its facilities and equipment tell a story of successful integration between tradition and modernity. The facilities of the Center include:
a. 2 lecture rooms with audio visual equipment
b. 2 open air courtyards
c. The “Cave” for informal meetings
d. Gift shop including an art gallery
e. Guest house
g. Church for meditation and Sunday Services.
The Folklore Museum of Beit Sahour
With the support of the municipality of Beit Sahour, the Museum was founded in 1991 by the citizens of the town. The museum has a great collection depicting the cultural heritage of the country, its daily life styles traditions and costumes. Besides tradition dress, the museum also houses many objects and instruments that were used in preparing food, coffee etc… Emphasizing the peasants life, the museum also has an exhibition of a traditional wedding ceremony with all the accessories and shows the various collection of costumes from the many various parts pf Palestine.
Finally, the museum also has its own folklore group which holds outdoor festivals including dancing.
Tel # 02-647-3666
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday
08H00 – 13H00
Cultural Heritage Preservation
The center for Cultural Heritage Preservation was founded in March 2001 with the mission of providing a sustainable mechanism for the protection and management of cultural heritage in Bethlehem and to raise /enhance awareness of cultural heritage in the public conscience.
The building which houses the center dates back to 1912 which makes it one of the oldest thoroughfares in the Bethlehem city core. The building was rehabilitated and restored by the Bethlehem 2000 project with the support of the French Government.
The center is also involved in policy reform, building and fostering community awareness, fostering international contacts and cooperation, research and documentation and management of conservation and rehabilitation projects.
For more information about the center please contact: