Walk in the place where Jesus Christ was born
Church of the Nativity - one of the oldest churches in the world. The building is built over the cave where, according to legend, was born Jesus of Nazareth, but because it is considered a sacred place for Christians.
The structure is actually a combination of two churches, the very birthplace of Jesus is located at the bottom - in the cave of the Nativity.
The birth of Jesus is told in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. Matthew says that Mary and Joseph were from Bethlehem, and later moved to Nazareth because of Herod's order to kill all the babies. And Luke indicates that Mary and Joseph were from Nazareth, but Jesus was born in Bethlehem, while they were in town for a special occasion. Theologians consider these two stories as contradictory, but Matthew is considered a reliable source. However, in both versions, Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth.
Star of Bethlehem and the altar
We have a unique Roman Catholic Altar Awe in Jesus' manger. " Catholics also set at the Altar of the Nativity the silver star. On the possession of the nave have rights as Catholics and Armenians.
The territory of the Church of the Nativity
1. Nativity of Christ Area; 2. Gates of humility; 3. Nef; 4. Higher altar and greek orthodox basil (iconostasises); 5. Steps in the cavern; 6. Cave Nativity; 7. Franciscan monastery; 8. Franciscan yard; 9. Cave of St. Jerome; 10. Church of St. Catherine; 11. greek orthodox convent; 12. Greek Orthodox yard; 13. Armenian yard; 14. The Armenian monastery.
Aerial view of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Church of the Nativity - the oldest still-functioning churches in the Holy Land, where, according to legend, Jesus Christ was born. Its construction began in 326 BC. e. The current church was built during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. In 529 the basilica was severely damaged during the Samaritan revolt. Patriarch of Jerusalem sent St. Sava on Justinian assistance, and an architect, sent by the Emperor, demolished the church and built the one that stands to this day.
A memorial plaque
Today the church is under the control of three Christian denominations - the Armenian Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.
The black and white photo of an old church.
Powerful external walls of the church, similar to the walls of the fortress, saying its long and complicated history. For centuries the church was one of those places for which were constantly at war. It conquered and defended a variety of military, including Muslims and Crusaders. Facade Church of the Nativity is surrounded by high walls three monasteries: the Franciscan from the north-east side, the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox from the south-east.
Entrance to the famous Basilica of very ugly
Aerial view of the Basilica of the territory
The three-dimensional model of the Basilica
The main building of the Basilica was erected by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. It is in the form of a typical Roman basilica, with five rows (formed by Corinthian columns) and an apse in the eastern part, where the sanctuary. Basilica has a rectangular shape, its length is 53, 9 meters, nave 26, 2 meters wide, and the transept -. 35 and 82 meters entering the church, you can see four rows of columns - only 44 - 6 meters high, made of red stone.
The cross on the roof of the Basilica
View Manger Square
Manger Square - a large courtyard in front of the Basilica of asphalt - a place residents gather on Christmas Eve, where they sang hymns in the run-up to the midnight service.
In the basilica can be reached through a very low door, which is called the "door of humility". This is a very small rectangular entrance, created during the reign of the Ottoman Empire to the looters are not imported into the church carts, as well as to even the most respectable and important visitors dismounted to get inside. Doorway was significantly reduced compared with the size of the old door, pointed arch which can still be seen at the top.
A view through the door of humility
the security room - the first room in the Basilica
In thirty of the 44 columns, you can see pictures of the Crusaders with the image of the saints, the Virgin Mary and the Infant Jesus, but because of the time and conditions of their lighting is quite difficult to see.
The priest between columns of the Basilica. The columns are made of pink limestone polished, most of them standing still from the 4th century, from the time of Konstantinovskaya Basilica.
The nave and the ceiling
Wide nave remained from the time of Justinian, and the roof dates from the 15th century and in the 19th century was carried out its restoration. Now the roof is rotten, it threatens the integrity of the entire building. Some beams have been preserved from the 15th century, but because of the holes in the tree dirty water flows directly to the precious mosaics and frescoes. This problem has only worsened over the years, however, the clergy of the Greek and Armenian Orthodox churches, as well as the Franciscan order of the Roman Catholic Church in conflict with each other for decades and have been unable to come to a common plan of action.
Armenian Church owns the north transept and the altar located there. They also are sometimes the altar of the Greek Orthodox Church and caves. On the north side of the altar is the Armenian altar and the three kings, and in the northern apse is also an Armenian altar of the Virgin Mary.
Iconostasis - a wall of icons and religious paintings separating the nave from the sanctuary of the church. Iconostasis is also called shelf for icons that can be placed anywhere. Iconostasis evolved from the Byzantine templon to the 15th century. The main building of the basilica, including the aisles, rows, KATHOLIKON (choir and sanctuary), south transept, and the Altar of the Nativity is under the possession of the Greek Orthodox Church.
entrance to the cave under the church, which are its main attraction. The cave can be accessed by stairs near the altar. It was here, according to tradition, Jesus Christ was born.
North staircase to the caves.
According to the Gospel of Luke 2: 7: Mary "laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the monastery." School establishments are located in the northern part of the caves, and in front of them - the altar of the Magi who came to Bethlehem with gifts from the East, after they saw the beacon.
In the gospel of the cave is not mentioned, but less than a century later Justin Martyr and Protoevangelie Jacob was told that Jesus was born in a cave. This makes sense, because many homes in the area are still being built in front of the caves. The caves were used for storage and as stables for horses - hence the nursery. At the end of the cave you can see the door to the chapel, the key of which is kept by the Franciscans.
The wall of the cave. All other items of furniture dating from after the fire in 1869, with the exception of the bronze gates at the north and south entrance to the cave, dating from the second century.
Cave lights 51 lamps, 19 of which belong to the Catholics.
South ladder in the cave.
The cave is rectangular: the length of 12, 3 meters, width - 3, 15 meters.
Altar of the star of Bethlehem.
The lower part of the altar
Silver Star on the floor symbolizes the place where, according to tradition, Jesus was born. The floor is paved with marble, and hang over the star 15 lamps (six of them belong to the Greek church, five - and four Armenian - Roman).
Silver Star has 14 rays.
The inscription on the star in Latin says: "Here the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ was born - 1717".
Franciscan courtyard leading to the church of St. Catherine.
In the church of St. Catherine
The church was built on the spot where Jesus Christ appeared to Catherine of Alexandria, and predicted it to her torment (ok.310 Mr. E.). Swat Catherine was buried at Mount Sinai. The first mention of the church date back to the 15th century. Rather, it is built on the site of the monastery of the Crusades of the 12th century. In addition, at the same place in the fifth century, the monastery of Saint Jacob. and united with the monastery chapel of the Crusades of the 12th century, which once stood on this site. Traces of the monastery of the 5th century, which is associated with St. Jerome, is also present here.
The priest looks onto the patio, leading to Church of St. Catherine.
The altar in the church of St. Catherine
Entrance to the Franciscan monastery and church of St. Catherine.
Patio leading to the church of St. Catherine.
stained glass window in the church of St. Catherine.