This extraordinary re-creation of houses, farms, workshops, oil and wine presses, and terraced fields as they existed in the time of Jesus could easily have been embarrassingly hokey. It’s not (we promise) because everything seen here is based on knowledge gleaned from archaeological digs in the area. Every structures in the “village” has been built in the same dimensions, and with the same materials and techniques, used 2,000 years ago. The same goes for the ancient costumes the cast members here wear as they perform traditional labors, such as plowing, wine and olive oil pressing, cooking, and weaving.

The recreation is designed to help visitors understand the environment in which Jesus found material for his teachings and parables. Guided tours include readings from the New Testament at various points along the way, but the village should be of interest to visitors of all faiths, as it carefully delineates the nature and customs of the Jewish community that existed in Nazareth 2,000 years ago.

Especially fascinating is the re-creation of a very modest a.d. 1st-century synagogue that would have existed in a Galilean village while The Temple at Jerusalem was still standing.

For an additional charge, it may be possible to arrange to attend a 1st-century vegetarian meal, served in a Bedouin tent. The men, women, and children “inhabiting” the village are both Christian and Muslim residents of modern-day Nazareth.