The 'Little Town' of Bethlehem, situated only a few miles from Jerusalem, is the birthplace of Jesus and the setting for the Nativity.
In the middle of Bethlehem's Old City is Manger square and the Church of the Nativity. The Church is built upon the traditional birthplace of Jesus and is actually a combination of two churches, the Basilica of the Nativity and the Church of St. Catherine, as well as a crypt, the Grotto of the Nativity, which marks the exact place of Jesus' birth.
Surrounding the church are a complex of chapels including the Chapel of St. Joseph, where an angel instructed Joseph to leave to Egypt, the Chapel of the Innocents, named for the children murdered by Herod, and the Chapel of St. Jerome, where St. Jerome undertook the translation of the Bible into Latin.
At Christmas-time, Bethlehem's streets are adorned with colored lights and Christmas paraphernalia. An open air market is set up, and people come from all over the world to share in the season's festivities. In fact Christmas can be celebrated three times a year. The Catholic and Protestant Churches set Christmas according to the Gregorian Calendar on December 25/ The (Greek/Russian and other) Orthodox Churches follows the Julian Calendar which celebrates Christmas on January 6. Finally, Armenian Christians celebrate on January 18.
Whenever you decide to visit Bethlehem, you'll have an unforgettable experience.
Vacation Packages are the best way to see Israel. Not only are vacation packages cheaper than booking everything on your own, they take all the stress out of planning trip planning. With your accommodations, tours, guides and local transportation taken care of, all you need to do is pack a suitcase and be ready for a worry free vacation.