Nazareth is a city located in the north. With a population of 75,000, it is the largest Arab city with a mixed but quite harmonious Christian and Muslim population. Nazareth is best known as the home of Joseph and Mary and therefore also Jesus, although he was born in Bethlehem.
A number of Christian holy places in Nazareth are associated with the Annunciation, the childhood and the early ministry of Jesus. In addition to the imposing Basilica of the Annunciation, these sites include the Greek Orthodox Church of the Archangel Gabriel (constructed the freshwater spring known as “Mary’s Well”), the Greek Catholic “Synagogue Church” (assumed site of the synagogue where the young Jesus was taught, and where he later read from the book of Isaiah), and the Franciscan Church of St. Joseph (built over a cave identified since the 17th century as the “workshop” of Joseph).
As the place where Jesus may have grown up, studied and lived most of his life, Nazareth has for two thousand years been closely identified with Christianity and has drawn hundreds of millions of pilgrims from around the world.
Nazareth serves as a major cultural centre. Over the past decade the historical Old City has been extensively renovated, preserving and restoring the architectural beauty and unique character of its narrow lanes and alleys. The combination of these three elements – history, culture and architecture – assures the Old City of Nazareth a place among the most beautiful historical destinations in the world.
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