There are four major things for tourists to do in Nazareth: Shop in the market, visit the New Testament sites, enjoy the many Arabic restaurants and sweet shops in the city, and visit the fascinating “Nazareth Village,” a re-creation of what life was like in the tiny hamlet of Nazareth at the time of Jesus.
New Testament Sites-The Basilica of the Annunciation is located on Casa Nova Street, on the spot where, according to Christian tradition, the Angel Gabriel appeared before Mary, to announce she would bear a child. The present Basilica of the Annunciation, completed in 1966, was built over earlier structures dating from 1730 to 1877. Unlike most Christian shrines in Israel, this basilica has a bold, modern design. Around the nave, on the walls, are murals that were created by artists from around the world. Note the Japanese mural of the Madonna and Child on the left (north) wall—Mary’s robe is made entirely of Japanese seed pearls. Summer hours are daily from 8am to 6pm; Mass is held in the Grotto of the Annunciation at 6:30am. 11:45am and from 2 to 4:45pm. Walk out the north-side door to reach the other religious sites.
The Church of Saint Joseph is 90m (295 ft.) away, set on the site believed to have been occupied by Joseph’s carpentry workshop. Open daily 7am to 6pm.
On the main street in the bazaar is the Greek Catholic “Synagogue” Church, believed to be the site of the ancient Nazareth synagogue that Jesus frequented. Farther along the road is the Franciscan Mensa Christi Church, believed to occupy the spot where Jesus ate with his disciples after the Resurrection.
Mary’s Well, with its source inside the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, is another important holy site. The church was built at the end of the 17th century over the remains of three earlier churches. At the church entrance, on the archway above the stone staircase leading down to the well, is a mural depicting the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary,
Our Lady of Fright Chapel, sometimes called the Tremore, is on a wooded hill south of the center opposite the Galilee Hotel. It commemorates the spot where Mary watched while the people of Nazareth attempted to throw Jesus over the Precipice.
Walking the Jesus Trail
For millions of modern travelers, walking in the footsteps of Jesus has meant taking a few steps from a tour bus to the Church of the Annunciation or to the banks of the Jordan River.
But thanks to a collaborative effort of local Christians, Muslims, and Jews—headed by the dynamic Maoz Inon and Suraida Nassar—that method of touring is changing. The group has mapped a careful, 65km (40-mile) itinerary (mainly downhill from Nazareth) of the routes Jesus would have taken as he crisscrossed the Galilee on foot from Nazareth to Zippori, Kana, and down to the Sea of Galilee. Along the way, visitors pass olive groves, ancient springs, historic sites and ruins. Yes, modern towns and their outskirts are also passed (there’s no way to avoid them), but they don’t account for the majority of the trail.
The route can be hiked by independent walkers or done with organized tours. Included are places to camp, overnight lodgings, and places to eat and buy supplies. Participants can as much or as little of the trail as they like. An optional return route to Nazareth includes the ethereal Mount Tabor.
For more information, go to www.jesustrail.com.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.