Tags: bethlehem | israel | travel | tips

Bethlehem Travel Guide: Tips For Visiting Israel

By    |   Monday, 20 October 2014 05:47 PM

Traveling to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth, doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow a few simple tips when visiting Israel.

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According to Holy Land Voyager, one needs to remember that even though Bethlehem is just a short drive south of Jerusalem, it is in the West Bank and officially under Palestinian jurisdiction.

“Though the city houses one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, and is home to the largest Palestinian Christian community in the Middle East, its Muslim population has gained much power over recent years, attempting to push the Christian community to migrate elsewhere,” according to the travel website. “However, Bethlehem's stout Christian community remains intact, gaining much of its strength from Christian travel and tourism.”

The Church of Nativity, believed to be the oldest church in the world and the birthplace of Jesus, is a travel destination for many Christians worldwide.

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“The main cathedral, known as the Basilica of Nativity, may be entered through the ‘Door of Humility’ which, as its namesake indicates, is built slightly underground so as to humble the believer entering into the church,” according to Holy Land Voyager. “Staircases on both sides of the basilica lead visitors from the main level down to the Holy Crypt where Jesus' precise place of birth is marked by a golden star engraved into the marble altar.”

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Haaretz offers additional tips for visiting Bethlehem:
  • Foreign passport-holders are allowed to cross in, but if you carry an Israeli passport, do so at your own risk: Despite the fact that many Israelis continue to enter the so-called Area A, the law actually prohibits them from doing so.
  • Bethlehem is small enough to be explored in a single day, but hotels here tend to be cheaper than digs in Jerusalem, making an overnight visit a tempting option.
  • Despite the fact that the area is safe and the people are friendly, it's a good idea to refrain from speaking Hebrew or showing Zionist sympathies.
  • Don’t forget your passport for Israel on the way back to Jerusalem.
  • If you don't have your own vehicle, you can take a taxi for NIS 180 or a shuttle bus from Damascus gate to Jerusalem.
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Traveling to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth, doesn't have to be difficult if you follow a few simple tips when visiting Israel.
bethlehem, israel, travel, tips
Monday, 20 October 2014 05:47 PM
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