""Oh Little Town of Bethlehem..."" Top 5 Page for this destination Bethlehem by jadedmuse

Bethlehem Travel Guide: 133 reviews and 544 photos

Bethlehem. Fabled birthsite of Jesus.

Manger Square. Contemporary site of....well....lots of religious pilgrims, the Church of the Nativity, more pilgrims, a mosque, more pilgrims....

Don't be surprised to learn that there's the usual in-fighting going on between the religious factions controlling the Church of the Nativity (the usual suspects: Greek Orthodox, Catholics, and Armenians).

And if you think I'm just spouting something from a guide book, see for yourself. The tension is palpable...from the Palestinian Authority figures standing guard outside the doors to the Nativity, to the very pilgrims themselves. I was nearly shoved into a wall by an overly zealous tourist (whose country shall remain nameless!). I'm still trying to figure out what it was we were supposed to be looking at.

Pope John Paul II had just visited Bethlehem a few months before I arrived, so the town was still proudly displaying all the banners and signs welcoming the Pope. In fact, the stage from which he'd given mass was still up and occupying one side of Manger Square.

The locals are quite friendly - I asked one gentleman who was sitting outside his shop, if he believed that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and if so, was that Church really the place where it all happened. He smiled, shrugged his shoulders and said that this is what has always been said, so it must be true (my friend translated the Arabic for me).

And here's the thing I love about these religious sites - if it's not the sites themselves that remind you of what Faith can mean, then it's the hundreds of thousands of tourists who do.

And in the end, if one of those tourists should become a little over enthusiastic and you lose sight of why you're there in the first place - then you can always count on a local to provide a reality check.

Keep the Faith!

  • Last visit to Bethlehem: Jun 2000
  • Intro Updated Jul 11, 2005
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Reviews (6)

Comments (14)

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Apr 10, 2009 at 11:20 PM

    Your pages continue to absorb us. It's like having a guide at our shoulder pointing the way. Well, maybe not the pipe. It certainly looks like you had fun though. Addicted now???

  • call_me_rhia's Profile Photo
    Apr 29, 2007 at 4:55 AM

    precious tips.. thank you

  • barryg23's Profile Photo
    Feb 22, 2007 at 12:32 AM

    Interesting page on Bethlehem. It must be a fascinating place to visit.

  • flyingscot4's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2007 at 9:41 AM

    What great pages! I am astounded.

  • NYTim's Profile Photo
    Jul 18, 2006 at 2:27 PM

    Believe it or not, I ate lunch there

  • kikalena's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2006 at 1:27 AM

    I love your Bethlehem page! For sure I'll be visiting it again and again. It was pleasure to read.

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Jan 25, 2005 at 6:27 PM

    Michele, this was a most interesting slant on Bethlehem. I always find your pages to be creative, unique, and never run-of-the-mill. Thanks for this great tour.

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Nov 2, 2004 at 11:18 PM

    I hope to visit Bethlehem next year! Great photos and tips!

  • aussiedoug's Profile Photo
    Aug 25, 2004 at 7:28 AM

    Very different flavour to this page & tips compared to your Jerusalem one. Yes pun both unintended & intended???? You sure know how to open yourself to new experiences M. Think I could learn a thing or two from you.

  • Bavavia's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2004 at 6:22 AM

    Very interesting tips on the Church of the Natvity and Bethlhem. I love the street scense picture of Bethlehem., that is a great photo! i saved it to my desktop!


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