Nazareth: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Nazareth

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nazareth COA.png
View of Nazareth from El Kishleh neighborhood.jpg
A panoramic view of Nazareth from the El Kishleh neighborhood
Nazareth is located in Israel
District North
Government City
Hebrew נָצְרַת (Natz'rat or Na'tzeret)
Arabic النَّاصِرَة (an-Nāṣɪra)
Population 65,900[1]
Metropolitan Area: 185,000 (2007)
Area 14,123 dunams (14.123 km2; 5.453 sq mi)
Mayor Ramiz Jaraisy
Coordinates 32°42′07″N 35°18′12″E / 32.70194°N 35.30333°E / 32.70194; 35.30333Coordinates: 32°42′07″N 35°18′12″E / 32.70194°N 35.30333°E / 32.70194; 35.30333

Nazareth (pronounced /ˈnæzərəθ/; Hebrew: נָצְרַת‎, Natzrat or Natzeret; Arabic: الناصرةan-Nāṣira or an-Naseriyye) is the capital and largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Arab citizens of Israel.[2][3] In the New Testament, the city is described as the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical events.



Nazareth is not mentioned in pre-Christian texts and appears in many different Greek forms in the New Testament. There is no consensus regarding the origin of the name.[4][5]

Biblical references

"Nazareth" assumes several forms (Nazara, Nazaret, Nazareth, Nazarat, Nazarath) in surviving Greek versions of the New Testament. Many scholars have questioned a link between "Nazareth" and the terms "Nazarene" and "Nazoraean" on linguistic grounds,[6] while some affirm the possibility of etymological relation "given the idiosyncrasies of Galilean Aramaic."[7] Of the twelve appearances of the town's name in the New Testament, ten use the form Nazaret or Nazareth, and two use the form Nazara.[4] Nazara (Ναζαρα) is generally considered the earliest form of the name in Greek, and is found in Matthew 4:13 and Luke 4:16, as well as the putative Q document, which many scholars maintain preceded 70 CE and the formation of the canonical Christian gospels.[4][8] The form Nazareth appears once in the Gospel of Matthew 21:11, four times in the birth chapters of the Gospel of Luke at 1:26; 2:4, 2:39, 2:51, and once in the Acts of the Apostles at 10:38. In the Gospel of Mark, the name appears only once in 1:9 in the form Nazaret.

Extrabiblical references

The form Nazara is also found in the earliest non-scriptural reference to the town, a citation by Sextus Julius Africanus dated about 200 CE. (See "Middle Roman to Byzantine Periods" below.) The Church Father Origen (c. 185 to 254 CE) knows the forms Nazara and Nazaret.[9] Later, Eusebius in his Onomasticon (translated by St. Jerome) also refers to the settlement as Nazara.[10]

The first non-Christian reference to Nazareth is an inscription on a marble fragment from a synagogue found in Caesarea Maritima in 1962.[11] This fragment gives the town's name in Hebrew as nun·tsade·resh·tav. The inscription dates as early as c. 300 CE and chronicles the assignment of priests that took place at some time after the Bar Kokhba revolt, 132-35 CE.[12] (See "Middle Roman to Byzantine Periods" below.) An 8th century CE Hebrew inscription, which was the earliest known Hebrew reference to Nazareth prior to the discovery of the inscription above, uses the same form.[4]

Origin of name

One theory holds that "Nazareth" is derived from the Hebrew noun ne·tser, נֵ֫צֶר, meaning branch.[13] Ne·tser is not the common Hebrew word for "branch," but one understood as a messianic title based on a passage in the Book of Isaiah.[14] The negative references to Nazareth in the Gospel of John suggest that ancient Jews did not connect the town's name to prophecy.[15] Alternately, the name may derive from the verb na·tsar, נָצַר, "watch, guard, keep."[16]

Another theory holds that the Greek form Nazara, used in Matthew and Luke, may derive from an earlier Aramaic form of the name, or from another Semitic language form.[17] If there were a tsade in the original Semitic form, as in the later Hebrew forms, it would normally have been transcribed in Greek with a sigma instead of a zeta.[4] This has led some scholars to question whether "Nazareth" and its cognates in the New Testament actually refer to the settlement we know traditionally as Nazareth in Lower Galilee.[18] Such linguistic discrepancies may be explained, however, "by a peculiarity of the 'Palestinian' Aramaic dialect wherein a sade (ṣ) between two voiced (sonant) consonants tended to be partially assimilated by taking on a zayin (z) sound."[4]

The Arabic name for Nazareth is an-Nāṣira, and Jesus (Arabic: يسوع‎‎, Yesua or Arabic: عيسى‎, 'Esa) is also called an-nāṣirî, reflecting the Arab tradition of according people a nisba, a name denoting from whence a person comes in either geographical or tribal terms. In the Koran, Christians are referred to as nasara, meaning "followers of the Nasiri," or "those who follow Jesus."[19]

Geography and population

Map showing the North District of Israel (in Red)

Two general locations of Nazareth are attested in the most ancient texts. The Galilean (Northern) location is familiar from the Christian gospels. However, a Southern (Judean) tradition is also attested in several early noncanonical texts.[20]

Modern-day Nazareth is nestled in a natural bowl which reaches from 1,050 feet (320 m) above sea level to the crest of the hills about 1,600 feet (490 m).[21] Nazareth is about 25 kilometres (16 mi) from the Sea of Galilee (17 km as the crow flies) and about 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) west from Mount Tabor. The Nazareth Range, in which the town lies, is the southernmost of several parallel east-west hill ranges that characterize the elevated tableau of Lower Galilee.

Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel.[22] Until the beginning of the British Mandate in Palestine (1922–1948), the population was predominantly Arabic speaking Christian (majority Greek Orthodox), with an Arab Muslim minority. Nazareth today still has a significant Christian population, made up of Maronites, Greek Orthodox, Coptics, among others. The Muslim population has grown, for a number of historical factors, that include the city having served as administrative center under British rule, and the influx of internally displaced Palestinian Arabs absorbed into the city from neighbouring towns following the 1948 Palestine war. Its population remains almost exclusively Arab and numbered 64,800 in late 2009.[23]


Ancient times

Archaeological research revealed a funerary and cult center at Kfar HaHoresh, about two miles (3 km) from Nazareth, dating back roughly 9000 years (to what is known as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B era).[24] The remains of some 65 individuals were found, buried under huge horizontal headstone structures, some of which consisted of up to 3 tons of locally-produced white plaster. Decorated human skulls uncovered there have led archaeologists to believe that Kfar HaHoresh was a major cult centre in that remote era.[25]

In 1620 the Catholic Church purchased an area in the Nazareth basin measuring approx. 100 m × 150 m (328.08 ft × 492.13 ft). on the side of the hill known as the Nebi Sa'in. This "Venerated Area" underwent extensive excavation in 1955-65 by the Franciscan priest Belarmino Bagatti, "Director of Christian Archaeology." Fr. Bagatti has been the principal archaeologist at Nazareth. His book, Excavations in Nazareth (1969) is still the standard reference for the archaeology of the settlement, and is based on excavations at the Franciscan Venerated Area.

Fr. Bagatti uncovered pottery dating from the Middle Bronze Age (2200 to 1500 BC) and ceramics, silos and grinding mills from the Iron Age (1500 to 586 BC), pointing to substantial settlement in the Nazareth basin at that time. However, lack of archaeological evidence from Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Hellenistic or Early Roman times, at least in the major excavations between 1955 and 1990, shows that the settlement apparently came to an abrupt end about 720 BC, when many towns in the area were destroyed by the Assyrians.

Early Christian era

According to the Gospel of Luke, Nazareth was the home of Joseph and Mary and the site of the Annunciation (when Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel that she would have Jesus as her son); in the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph and Mary resettle in Nazareth after fleeing to Egypt from their home in Bethlehem.[ Mt.] The differences and possible contradictions between these two accounts of the nativity of Jesus are part of the Synoptic Problem. Nazareth is also allegedly where Jesus grew up from some point in his childhood. However, some modern scholars argue that Nazareth was also the birth place of Jesus.[26]

James Strange, an American archaeologist, notes: “Nazareth is not mentioned in ancient Jewish sources earlier than the third century AD. This likely reflects its lack of prominence both in Galilee and in Judaea.”[27] Strange originally speculated that the population of Nazareth at the time of Christ to be "roughly 1,600 to 2,000 people", but later, in a subsequent publication, at “a maximum of about 480.”[28] Some have argued that the absence of textual references to Nazareth in the Old Testament and the Talmud, as well as the works of Josephus, suggest that a town called 'Nazareth' did not exist in Jesus' day.[29] Proponents of this hypothesis, which was first raised in the nineteenth century, have also argued this on the basis of linguistic, literary and archaeological interpretations.[30][31] However, in 2009 Israeli archaeologist Yardenna Alexandre excavated archaeological remains in Nazareth that she claimed date to the time of Jesus. She stated, "The discovery is of the utmost importance since it reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth."[32]

Ancient Nazareth may have built on the hillside, as indicated in the Gospel of Luke: [And they led Jesus] to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong.[Lk. 4:29] However, the hill in question (the Nebi Sa'in) is far too steep for ancient dwellings and averages a 14% grade in the venerated area.[33] Historic Nazareth was essentially constructed in the valley; the windy hilltops in the vicinity have only been occupied since the construction of Nazareth Illit in 1957. Noteworthy is that all the post-Iron Age tombs in the Nazareth basin (approximately two dozen) are of the kokh (plural:kokhim) or later types; this type probably first appeared in Galilee in the middle of the first century AD.[34] Kokh tombs in the Nazareth area have been excavated by B. Bagatti, N. Feig, Z. Yavor, and noted by Z. Gal.[35]

Excavations conducted prior to 1931 in the Franciscan venerated area revealed no trace of a Greek or Roman settlement there,[36] Fr. Bagatti, who acted as the principal archaeologist for the venerated sites in Nazareth, unearthed quantities of later Roman and Byzantine artifacts,[37] attesting to unambiguous human presence there from the 2nd century AD onward. John Dominic Crossan, a major figure in New Testament studies, remarked that Bagatti's archaeological drawings indicate just how small the village actually was, suggesting that it was little more than an insignificant hamlet [38].

Matthew 2:19-23 reads:

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead." So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."

In the Gospel of John, Nathaniel asks, Can anything good come out of Nazareth?[1:46] The meaning of this cryptic question is debated. Some commentators and scholars suggest that it means Nazareth was very small and unimportant, but the question does not speak of Nazareth’s size but of its goodness. In fact, Nazareth was described negatively by the evangelists; the Gospel of Mark argues that Nazareth did not believe in Jesus and therefore he could do no mighty work there;[Mk 6:5] in the Gospel of Luke, the Nazarenes are portrayed as attempting to kill Jesus by throwing him off a cliff;[Lk 4:29] in the Gospel of Thomas, and in all four canonical gospels, we read the famous saying that "a prophet is not without honor except in his own country."[39]

Many scholars since W. Wrede (in 1901)[40] have noted the so-called Messianic secret in the Gospel of Mark, whereby Jesus' true nature and/or mission is portrayed as unseen by many, including by his inner circle of disciples[Mk 8:27-33] (compare the Gospel of John's references to those to whom only the Father reveals Jesus will be saved).[41] Nazareth, being the home of those near and dear to Jesus, apparently suffered negatively in relation to this doctrine. Thus, Nathanael’s question, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” is consistent with a negative view of Nazareth in the canonical gospels, and with the Johannine proclamation that even his brothers did not believe in him.[Jn 7:5]

A tablet at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, dating to 50 AD, was sent from Nazareth to Paris in 1878. It contains an inscription known as the "Ordinance of Caesar" that outlines the penalty of death for those who violate tombs or graves. However, it is suspected that this inscription came to Nazareth from somewhere else (possibly Sepphoris). Bagatti writes: “we are not certain that it was found in Nazareth, even though it came from Nazareth to Paris. At Nazareth there lived various vendors of antiquities who got ancient material from several places.”[42] C. Kopp is more definite: "It must be accepted with certainty that [the Ordinance of Caesar]… was brought to the Nazareth market by outside merchants."[43] Princeton University archaeologist Jack Finegan describes additional archaeological evidence related to settlement in the Nazareth basin during the Bronze and Iron Ages, and states that "Nazareth was a strongly Jewish settlement in the Roman period.".[44]

Nazareth in 1842

Epiphanius writes in the Panarion (c. 375 AD)[45] of a certain elderly Count Joseph of Tiberias, a wealthy imperial Roman Jew who converted to Christianity in the time of Constantine. Count Joseph claimed that as a young man he built churches in Sepphoris and other towns that were inhabited only by Jews.[46] Nazareth is mentioned, though the exact meaning is not clear.[47] In any case, Joan Taylor writes: "It is now possible to conclude that there existed in Nazareth, from the first part of the fourth century, a small and unconventional church which encompassed a cave complex."[48] The town was Jewish until the seventh century AD.[49]

Besides the absence of textual references to Nazareth in the Hebrew Bible and also in the later Talmud, the town is also noticeably absent in the writings of Flavius Josephus, who lived in first century Japha, a village just one mile from the location of Nazareth, and which he writes about.[50] Non-biblical textual references to Nazareth do not occur until around 200 AD, when Sextus Julius Africanus, cited by Eusebius (Church History 1.7.14), speaks of “Nazara” as a village in "Judea" and locates it near an as-yet unidentified “Cochaba.”[51] This curious description does not fit the traditional location of Nazareth in Lower Galilee.[52] In the same passage Africanus writes of desposunoi - relatives of Jesus - who he claims kept the records of their descent with great care. The 3rd century Christian apologist Origen, who lived in Caesarea─less than 30 miles away─mentions Nazareth several times but gives no indication of knowing where it is.[53]

The early 4th century Pilgrim of Bordeaux (c. 333 AD) never mentions visiting Nazareth, despite describing his visit to locations that would be in its vicinity. Later texts referring to Nazareth include one from the tenth century that writes of a certain martyr named Conon who died in Pamphylia under Decius (249-251), and declared at his trial: "I belong to the city of Nazareth in Galilee, and am a relative of Christ whom I serve, as my forefathers have done."[54] This Conon has been claimed by Joan Taylor to be "legendary".[55]

In the 6th century, religious narrations from local Christians about the Virgin Mary began to spark interest in the site among pilgrims, who founded the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation at the site of a freshwater spring, today known as Mary's Well. In 570, the Anonymous of Piacenza reports travelling from Sepphoris to Nazareth and refers to the beauty of the Hebrew women there, who say that St. Mary was a relative of theirs, and records: "The house of St. Mary is a basilica."[56]

Nazareth, postcard by Fadil Saba

The Christian writer Jerome, writing in the 5th century, says Nazareth was a viculus or mere village. The Jewish town profited from the Christian pilgrim trade which began in the fourth century, but latent anti-Christian hostility broke out in 614 AD when the Persians invaded Palestine. At that time, according to C. Kopp writing in 1938, the Jewish residents of Nazareth helped the Persians slaughter the Christians in the land.[57] When the Byzantine or Eastern Roman emperor Heraclius ejected the Persians from Palestine in 630 AD, he singled out Nazareth for special punishment and imposed forced exile upon the Jewish families. At this time the town ceased to be Jewish.

Skeptical position

Ever since the nineteenth century some scholars and writers have questioned the traditional view that Nazareth was the home of Jesus. They base this conclusion on several distinct grounds:[citation needed]

  1. Linguistic: Some scholars including Rudolf Bultmann believe that the New Testament term "Nazoraios cannot be derived from Nazareth."[58] Other scholars disagree.[59][60]
  2. Literary. W. B. Smith wrote: "The 'city called Nazareth' seems to be a geographical imagination; it is unmentioned in the Old Testament, in the Talmud, in Josephus, or in the Apocrypha."[61] F. Zindler has noted that "No ancient historians or geographers mention [Nazareth] before the beginning of the fourth century."[62]
  3. Religious. O. Cullmann wrote that "According to Acts 24:5 not only Jesus, but also the Christians were called NAZORAIOI; it would certainly be unusual if they were referred to as "people from Nazareth. This makes it probable that originally, prior to the connection with the name of the locality Nazareth, the term [Nazorean] was the name of a Jewish sect or heresy derived from the root "observe" [nun-tsade-resh], and meaning "observant," "devotee," a term later used of the Christians.[63]
  4. Archaeological. See "Archaeology" (last paragraph) below.

Islamic rule

Old postcard of Nazareth women

The Muslim conquest of Palestine in 637 AD introduced Islam to the region. Over the next four centuries Islam was adopted by a significant portion of the population, though a significant Arab Christian minority remained. With outbreak of the First Crusade, an extended period of conflict began in which control shifted several times between the local Saracens and Europeans. Control over Galilee and Nazareth shifted frequently during this time, with corresponding impact on the religious makeup of the population.

In 1099 AD, the Crusader Tancred captured Galilee and established his capital in Nazareth. The ancient diocese of Scythopolis was also relocated under the Archbishop of Nazareth, one of the four archdioceses in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The town returned to Muslim control in 1187 AD following the victory of Saladin in the Battle of Hattin. The remaining Crusaders and European clergy were forced to leave town.[64] Frederick II managed to negotiate safe passage for pilgrims from Acre in 1229, and in 1251, Louis IX, the king of France, attended mass in the grotto, accompanied by his wife.[64]

In 1263, Baybars, the Mamluk Sultan, destroyed the Christian buildings in Nazareth and declared the site off-limits to Latin clergy, as part of his bid to drive out the remaining Crusaders from Palestine.[64] While Arab Christian families continued to live in Nazareth, its status was reduced to that of a poor village. Pilgrims who visited the site in 1294 reported only a small church protecting the grotto.[64]

In the 14th century, monks from the Franciscan Order were permitted to return and resided within the ruins of the Basilica, but they were eventually evicted again in 1584.[64] In 1620, Fakhr-al-Din II, a Druze emir who controlled this part of Ottoman Syria rule, permitted them to return to build a small church at the Grotto of the Annunciation. Pilgrimage tours to surrounding sacred sites were also organized by the Franciscans from this point forward, but the monks suffered harassment from surrounding Bedouin tribes who often kipnapped them for ransom.[64] Stability returned with the rule of Daher el-Omar, a powerful local sheikh who ruled over much of the Galilee and who authorized the Franciscans to build a church in 1730. That structure stood until 1955, when it was demolished to make way for the building a larger structure which was completed in 1967.[64]

Nazareth was captured by the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799, during his Syrian campaign. Napoleon visited the holy sites and considered appointing his general Junot as the duke of Nazareth.[64] During the rule of Ibrahim Pasha (1830–1840), the Egyptian general, over much of Ottoman Syria, Nazareth was open to European missionaries and traders. After the Ottomans regained control, European money continued to flow into Nazareth and a number of institutions were established. The Christians of Naareth were protected during the pogroms of 1860s by the dominant rule of Aghil Agha, the Bedouin leader who exercised control over the political and security situation in the Galilee between 1845 and 1870.[64]

Kaloost Varstan, an Armenian from Istanbul, arrived in 1864 and established the first medical missionary in Nazareth, the Scottish "hospital on the hill", with sponsorship from the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society. The Ottoman Sultan, who favored the French, allowed them to establish an orphanage, the Society of Saint Francis de Sale. By the late 19th century, Nazareth was a town with a strong Arab Christian presence and a growing European community, where a number of communal projects were undertaken and new religious buildings were erected.[64]

Modern era

Modern Nazareth
Arab citizens of Israel
Balad (al-Tajamu)
Hadash (al-Jabha) Avoda · Kadima · Likud
Abnaa el-Balad
Internally Displaced Palestinians
The Koenig Memorandum
Land Day
October 2000 events
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Dome of the Rock
Basilica of the Annunciation
Mary's Well
St. George's Orthodox Church
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Music · Dance · Cuisine
Palestinian Arabic
Negev Bedouins
Major population centers
Nazareth · Umm al-Fahm · Rahat
Tayibe · Shefa-'Amr · Baqa-Jatt
Shaghur · Tamra · Sakhnin
Carmel City · Tira · Arraba
Hiam Abbass · Hany Abu-Assad
Mohammed Bakri · Azmi Bishara
Emile Habibi · Samih al-Qasim
Abbas Suan · Elia Suleiman
Ali Suliman · Amos Yarkoni
See also Template:Palestinians

Nazareth was in the territory allotted to the Arab state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan. The town was not a field of battle during 1948 Arab-Israeli War before the first truce on 11 June, although some of the villagers had joined the loosely organized peasant military and paramilitary forces, and troops from the Arab Liberation Army had entered Nazareth. During the ten days of fighting which occurred between the first and second truce, Nazareth capitulated to Israeli troops during Operation Dekel on 16 June, after little more than token resistance. The surrender was formalized in a written agreement, where the town leaders agreed to cease hostilities in return for promises from the Israeli officers, including brigade commander Ben Dunkelman, (the leader of the operation), that no harm would come to the civilians of the town.

Preparations for the Pope's visit to Nazareth in 2000 triggered highly publicized tensions related to the Basilica of the Annunciation. The 1997 permission for construction of a paved plaza to handle the expected thousands of Christian pilgrims caused Muslim protests and occupation of the proposed site, which is considered the grave of a nephew of Saladin. This site used to be the home of a school built during the Ottoman rule. The school was named al-Harbyeh (in Arabic means military), and many elderly people in Nazareth still remember it as the school site, nevertheless, the same site still contains,the Shihab-Eddin shrine, along with several shops owned by the waqf (Muslim community ownership). The school building continued to serve as a government school until it was demolished to allow for the plaza to be built.

The initial argument between the different political factions in town (represented in the local council), was on where the borders of the shrine and shops starts and where it ends. The initial government approval of subsequent plans for a large mosque to be constructed at the site led to protests from Christian leaders worldwide, which continued after the papal visit. Finally, in 2002, a special government commission permanently halted construction of the mosque.[65][66] In March 2006, public protests that followed the disruption of a Lenten prayer service by an Israeli Jew and his Christian wife and daughter, who detonated incendiary devices inside the church,[67] succeeded in dismantling a temporary wall that had been erected around the public square that had been constructed but had yet to be unveiled, putting an end to the entire controversy.

On 19 July 2006 a rocket fired by Hezbollah as part of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict killed two children in Nazareth. No holy sites were damaged.[68]

In 2007, a group of Christian businessmen declared plans to build the largest cross in the world (60 m (196.85 ft) high) in Nazareth as the childhood town of Jesus.[69]


According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, Nazareth had a population of approximately 65,000 in 2005. The vast majority of its residents are Arab citizens of Israel, 31.3% of whom are Christians and 68.7% of whom are Muslims.[70] Nazareth forms a metropolitan area with the Arab local councils of Yafa an-Naseriyye to the south, Reineh, Mashhad and Kafr Kanna to the north, Iksal and the adjacent city of Nazareth Illit to the east which has a population of 40,000 Jews and Ilut to the west. Together, the Nazareth metropolis area has a population of approximately 185,000 of which over 125,000 are Israeli Arabs.[71]

While the two communities of Muslims and Christians tend to get along, they also have come into sporadic conflict. Muslim activists outraged Christians when they built an unauthorized mosque next to the Basilica of the Annunciation, where Christians believe the Angel Gabriel foretold the birth of Jesus to Mary. Israel later tore down the mosque in 2003. Muslim activists also have periodically marched through the city in shows of strength meant to intimidate Christians.[72][73]

Religious shrines

Interior of St Joseph's Church

Nazareth is home to at least 23 monasteries and churches.[74] Many of the older churches are located in the Old City.

There are also a number of mosques in Nazareth, the oldest of which is the White Mosque, located in Harat Alghama ("Mosque Quarter") in the center of Nazareth's Old Market.[75][76]

Middle Roman to Byzantine periods

In 1960, a Hebrew inscription found in Caesarea, dating to the late 3rd or early 4th century, mentions Nazareth as one of the places in which the priestly (kohanim) family of Hapizzez was residing after Bar Kokhba's revolt (132-135 AD).[77] From the three fragments that have been found, it is possible to show that the inscription was a complete list of the twenty-four priestly courses (cf. 1 Chronicles 24:7-19; Nehemiah 11;12), with each course (or family) assigned its proper order and the name of each town or village in Galilee where it settled. An interesting aspect of this inscription is that the name for Nazareth is not spelled with the "z" sound (as one would expect from the Greek gospels) but with the Hebrew tsade (thus "Nasareth" or "Natsareth").[78] Eleazar Kalir (a Hebrew Galilean poet variously dated from the sixth to tenth century A.D.) also mentions a locality clearly in the Nazareth region bearing the name Nazareth נצרת (in this case vocalized "Nitzrat"), which was home to the descendants of the 18th Kohen clan or 'priestly course', Happitzetz הפצץ, for at least several centuries following the Bar Kochva revolt.


In the mid-1990s, shopkeeper Elias Shama discovered tunnels under his shop near Mary's Well in Nazareth. The tunnels were eventually recognized as a hypocaust (a space below the floor into which warm air was pumped) for a bathhouse. The surrounding site was excavated in 1997-98 by Yardena Alexandre, and the archaeological remains exposed were ascertained to date from the Roman, Crusader, Mamluk and Ottoman periods.[79][80][81][82]

In November–December 2009, Alexandre conducted another excavation in Nazareth on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). The official IAA report states that "remains of a building from the Roman period were exposed in which there were two rock-cuttings in the bedrock: one a silo and the other, in the excavator’s opinion, a refuge pit. There were also the remains of a large building there that dates to the Mamluk period, of which a vault and a number of walls were exposed.[83]

While the IAA report dates the building to "the Roman period" (as late as the fourth century AD), in statements to the press Alexandre dates it to the time of Jesus. In addition, she dates shards of clay and chalk vessels found at the site also to the time of Jesus.[84] Alexandre believes that the Nazareth of Jesus' time was an isolated hamlet of 50 dwellings, covering an area of four-acres (1.6 hectares). She has stated that the excavated house, which is 100 metres from the Church of the Annunciation, appears to have been occupied by a Jewish family of modest means.[85][86]

The excavation was conducted after the courtyard of a convent was dug up to build a new Christian center. Alexandre also found the entrance to a secret grotto that may have been used by the Jewish residents as a hiding place from the Romans, similar to camouflaged grottos found in the village of Cana.[84]

It has long been known that the settlement of Nazareth was Jewish in the early Christian era. Some scholars have noted that this causes problems for the traditional view that Christian sectarians lived in the village and perpetuated the memory of the venerated sites, such as the domicile of Mary (the present Church of the Annunciation), and of Joseph (the Church of the Nutrition). "It is strange," T. Cheyne writes, "to find that until the reign of Constantine [Nazareth] had none but Jewish inhabitants—a fact which is obviously fatal to the so-called traditional sites in the present town... We cannot perhaps venture to assert positively that there was a 'city called Nazareth' in Jesus' time. " [31] In addition, some recent research questions the standard conclusions of Nazareth archaeology.[87]


The city's main football club, Ahi Nazareth, currently plays in Israeli Premier League. The club spent a single season in the top division in 2003-04. They are based at the Ilut Stadium in nearby Ilut. Other local clubs Beitar al-Amal Nazareth, Hapoel Bnei Nazareth and Hapoel Nazareth all play in Liga Gimel.

Twin towns — Sister cities

Nazareth is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ "Table 3 - Population of Localities Numbering Above 1,000 Residents and Other Rural Population" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2009-12-30. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  2. ^ Laurie King-Irani (Spring, 1996). "Review of "Beyond the Basilica: Christians and Muslims in Nazareth"". Journal of Palestine Studies 25 (3): 103–105. 
  3. ^ Dumper, Michael; Stanley, Bruce E.; Abu-Lughod, Janet L. (2006). Cities of the Middle East and North Africa: a historical encyclopedia (Illustrated ed.). ABC-CLIO. pp. 273–274. ISBN 1576079198, 9781576079195. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Carruth, Shawn; Robinson, James McConkey; Heil, Christoph (1996). Q 4:1-13,16: the temptations of Jesus : Nazara. Peeters Publishers. p. 415. ISBN 9068318802. 
  5. ^ Burkitt, "Syriac Forms of New Testament Names," Proceedings of the Br. Acad. (1912) p. 392; Kennard and Albright in JBL 65:2 (1946) pp. 397 ff.; P. Winter in New Testament Studies 3 (1957) 136 ff.; etc.
  6. ^ Cheyne in 1899 [Ency. Biblica, "Nazareth"; Lidzbarski [Kittel p. 878]; Kennard [JBL 65:2,134 ff.]; Berger [Novum Test. 38:4,323], et multi.
  7. ^ S. Chepey, "Nazirites in Late Second Temple Judaism" (2005), p 152, referring to W. Albright, G. Moore, and H. Schaeder.
  8. ^ "Q certainly contained reference to Nazara" (M. Goodacre). See J. M. Robinson et al, The Critical Edition of Q. Fortress Press, 2000, pp. 42-43. Cf also: M. Goodacre, The case against Q: studies in Markan priority and the synoptic problem, p.174; F. C. Burkitt, "The Syriac forms of New Testament names," in Proceedings of the British Academy, 1911-12, Oxford Univ. Press, p. 392; (bottom of page).
  9. ^ Comment. In Joan. Tomus X (Migne, Patrologia Graeca 80:308–309.
  10. ^ Nazareth. The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911.
  11. ^ M. Avi-Yonah, "A List of Priestly Courses from Caesarea." Israel Exploration Journal 12 (1962):137-139.
  12. ^ R. Horsley, Archaeology, History and Society in Galilee. Trinity Press International, 1996, p. 110.
  13. ^ "The etymology of Nazara is neser" ("Nazareth", The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911.)
    "NAZARETH, NAZARENE - Place name meaning, 'branch.'" (Holman's Bible Dictionary, 1994.)
    "Generally supposed to be the Greek form of the Hebrew netser, a "shoot" or "sprout." (Easton's Bible Dictionary, (1897)).
  14. ^ Miller, Fred P., Isaiah's Use of the word "Branch" or Nazarene"
    Isaiah 11:1
  15. ^ Bauckham, Jude, Jude, Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church, pp. 64-65. See John 1:46 and John 7:41-42.
  16. ^ "...if the word Nazareth is be derived from Hebrew at all, it must come from this root [i.e. נָצַר, natsar, to watch]" (Merrill, Selah, (1881) Galilee in the Time of Christ, p. 116.
    Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, Charles A. Briggs, The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1906/2003), p. 665.
  17. ^ Carruth, 1996, p. 417.
  18. ^ T. Cheyne, "Nazareth," in Encyclopaedia Biblica, 1899, col. 3358 f. For a review of the question see H. Schaeder,Nazarenos, Nazoraios, in Kittel, "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament," IV:874 f.
  19. ^ Antoun, Richard T.; Quataert, Donald (1991). Richard T. Antoun. ed. Syria: society, culture, and polity. SUNY Press. ISBN 0791407136, 9780791407134. 
  20. ^ (a) The Protevangelium of James(c. 150 CE. See New Testament Apocrypha, ed. W. Schneemelcher, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991, vol. 1, p. 421 ff.) was an immensely popular text in the early Christian centuries. In it, Jesus' family lives in Bethlehem of Judea (PrJ 8.3; 17:1) and all events take place in and around the southern town. PrJ does not once mention Galilee, nor "Nazareth." (b) The earliest reference to Nazareth outside the Christian gospels, by Sextus Julius Africanus (c. 200 CE), speaks of “Nazara” as a village in "Judea" and locates it near an as-yet unidentified “Cochaba.” (c) A fourth century work known as the History of Joseph the Carpenter knows a southern location for Nazareth. It locates "Nazareth," the home of Joseph, within walking distance of the Jerusalem Temple.
  21. ^ Map Survey of Palestine, 1946. 1:5,000 OCLC: 17193107. Also, Chad Fife Emmett (1995). Beyond the Basilica:Christians and Muslims in Nazareth. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226207110. Fig. 11, 31.
  22. ^ Yurit Naffe (October 2001). "Statistilite 15: Population" (PDF). State of Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 
  23. ^ <>
  24. ^ Goring-Morris, A.N. "The quick and the dead: the social context of Aceramic Neolithic mortuary practices as seen from Kfar HaHoresh." In: I. Kuijt (ed.), Social Configurations of the Near Eastern Neolithic: Community Identity, Hierarchical Organization, and Ritual (1997).
  25. ^ "Pre-Christian Rituals at Nazareth". Archaeology: A Publication of the Archaeological Institute of America. November/December 2003. 
  26. ^ John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: The Roots of the Problem and the Person, Vol. 1, Doubleday 1991, page 216. Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, Oxford University Press, 1999, page 97. E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, Penguin 1993, page 85.
  27. ^ Article "Nazareth" in the Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
  28. ^ E. Meyers & J. Strange, Archaeology, the Rabbis, & Early Christianity Nashville: Abingdon, 1981; Article “Nazareth” in the Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
  29. ^ T. Cheyne, “Nazareth.” Encyclopedia Biblica. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1899, Col. 3360. R. Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus. New York: Penguin Books, 1997, p. 952. F. Zindler, The Jesus the Jews Never Knew New Jersey: American Atheist Press, 2003, pp. 1-2.
  30. ^ W. B. Smith, "Meaning of the Epithet Nazorean (Nazarene),"The Monist 1904:26.
  31. ^ a b T. Cheyne, Encyclopedia Biblica,"Nazareth" (1899). Cf. C. Hitzig: "The authenticity of the holy places now revered in Nazareth is doubtful." (The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, "Nazareth" p. 92).
  32. ^ House from Jesus' time excavated (December 23, 2009) in Israel 21c Innovation News Service Retrieved 2010-01-05
  33. ^ B. Bagatti, Excavations in Nazareth, Plate XI, top right.
  34. ^ H.P. Kuhnen, "Palaestina in Griechisch-Roemischer Zeit," (Muenchen, C. Beck, 1990, pp. 254-55).
  35. ^ Gal, Z. Lower Galilee During the Iron Age (American Schools of Oriental Research, Eisenbrauns, 1992) p. 15; Yavor, Z. 1998 "Nazareth", ESI 18. Pp. 32 (English), 48; Feig, N. 1990 "Burial Caves at Nazareth", 'Atiqot 10 (Hebrew series). Pp. 67-79.
  36. ^ R. Tonneau, Revue Biblique XL (1931), p. 556. Reaffirmed by C. Kopp (op. cit.,1938, p. 188).
  37. ^ B. Bagatti, Excavations in Nazareth, vol. 1 (1969), pp. 272-310.
  38. ^ John Dominic Crossan, The Historical Jesus : The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, 1992, p.18
  39. ^ Gospel of Thomas, 31; Mark 6:4; Matthew 13:57; Luke 4:24; John 4:44
  40. ^ W. Wrede, Das Messiasgeheimnis in der Evangelien(1901), English translation, The Messianic Secret, Cambridge: J. Clarke, 1971
  41. ^ John 6:65; 17:6; 17:9
  42. ^ Bagatti, B. Excavations in Nazareth, vol. 1 (1969), p. 249.
  43. ^ C. Kopp, “Beiträge zur Geschichte Nazareths.” Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society, vol. 18 (1938), p. 206, n.1.
  44. ^ The Archaeology of the New Testament, Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1992: pages 44-46.
  45. ^ Pan. I.136. Panarion in Greek. The text was translated into Latin with the title Adversus Haereses.
  46. ^ Pan. 30.4.3; 30.7.1.
  47. ^ Compare Pan.30.11.10 and 30.12.9. (Migne Patrologia Graeco-Latina vol. 41:426-427; Williams, F. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Book I. E. J. Brill 1987, pp. 128-29).
  48. ^ Taylor, J. Christians and the Holy Places. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993, p. 265.
  49. ^ Taylor 229, 266; Kopp 1938:215.
  50. ^ Josephus, Life, 52
  51. ^ "A few of the careful, however, having obtained private records of their own, either by remembering the names or by getting them in some other way from the registers, pride themselves on preserving the memory of their noble extraction. Among these are those already mentioned, called Desposyni, on account of their connection with the family of the Saviour. Coming from Nazara and Cochaba, villages of Judea, into other parts of the world, they drew the aforesaid genealogy from memory and from the book of daily records as faithfully as possible." (Eusebius Pamphili, Church History, Book I, Chapter VII,§ 14)
  52. ^ Several possible Cochabas have been identified: one fifteen kilometers north of Nazareth (on the other side of Sepphoris); one in the region of Bashan (to the East of the Jordan River); and two near Damascus. See J. Taylor, Christians and the Holy Places. Oxford: 1993, pp. 36-38 (with map).
  53. ^ Zindler, F. "Where Jesus Never Walked." American Atheists. Where Jesus Never Walked}}
  54. ^ Clemens Kopp, Die heiligen Stätten der Evangelien [The Holy Places of the Gospels]. Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet, 1959, p. 90.
  55. ^ Joan Taylor, Christians and the Holy Places. Oxford: 1993, p. 243.
  56. ^ P. Geyer, Itinera Hierosolymitana saeculi, Lipsiae: G. Freytag, 1898: page 161.
  57. ^ C. Kopp, “Beiträge zur Geschichte Nazareths.” Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society, vol. 18 (1938), p. 215. Kopp is citing the Byzantine writer Eutychius (Eutychii Annales in Migne's Patrologia Graeca vol. 111 p. 1083).
  58. ^ R. Bultmann, Zeitshrift für neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 24 (1925):144; W. B. Smith, "Meaning of the Epithet Nazorean (Nazarene),"The Monist 1904:25-45; F. Burkitt, "Syriac forms of N.T. names," Proceedings of the British Academy 1912:391-394; M. Lidzbarski, Mandäische Liturgien 1920:xvii; W. Bauer, "Nazareth" in Griechisch-Deutschen Wörterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments (1928); J. Kennard JBL 66 (1947); O. Cullmann (1962), "Nazarene," in the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible.
  59. ^ W. Albright (JBL 65:2 [June 1946] 397-401; G. Moore, The Beginnings of Christianity, 1920, p. 429; and S. Mimouni (Revue Biblique, 105:2 [April, 1998] pp. 218, 221.
  60. ^ John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: The Roots of the Problem and the Person, Vol. 1, Doubleday 1991, page 216. Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, Oxford University Press, 1999, page 97. E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, Penguin 1993, page 85.
  61. ^ W. B. Smith, "Meaning of the Epithet Nazorean (Nazarene),"The Monist 1904:26. Nazareth is not included in the list of settlements of the tribes of Zebulun (Joshua 19:10-16) which mentions twelve towns and six villages in the immediate area. Nazareth is also not included among the 45 cities of Galilee mentioned by Josephus (37AD-100AD), and the Talmud (early rabbinic literature) mentions 63 towns in the Galilee but not Nazareth.
  62. ^ Zindler, F. "Where Jesus Never Walked," American Atheist, Winter 1996-97, p. 34.[1]
  63. ^ O. Cullmann, "Nazarene," in the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (1962). M. Lidzbarski added support to this thesis by pointing to the self-designation of the the pre-Christian Gnostic sect of the Mandeans as Natsoraiia. Bultmann writes: "Since... Nazoraios cannot be derived from Nazareth, Jesus must have received the byname of Nazoraean because he came from a circle of 'keepers'." (Zeitshrift für neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 24 (1925):144.
  64. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Dumper, p. 273.
  65. ^ "Final Bar on Controversial Nazareth Mosque". Catholic World News. March 4, 2002. 
  66. ^ "Nazareth mosque will not be built next to the Basilica of the Annunciation". Israel Insider. March 4, 2002. 
  67. ^ "Thousands of Israeli Arabs protest attack". USA Today. March 4, 2006. 
  68. ^ "Rocket attacks kill two Israeli Arab children". Reuters. July 19, 2006. 
  69. ^ Christian Today Magazine
  70. ^
  71. ^ [2] Israeli localities with populations 1000+
  72. ^ Press, Associated (2009-05-14). "Netanyahu asks pope to condemn Iranian rhetoric". Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  73. ^ "israelinsider: politics: Bulldozers raze controversial Nazareth mosque". 2003-07-01. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  74. ^ Trudy Ring, Robert M. Salkin, Sharon La Boda, ed (1996). International Dictionary of Historic Places: Middle East and Africa (Illustrated, annotated ed.). Taylor & Francis. ISBN 1884964036, 9781884964039. 
  75. ^ Chad F. Emmett (1995). Beyond the Basilica: Christians and Muslims in Nazareth. University of Chicago Press. pp. 136–138. ISBN 0226207110. 
  76. ^ "Nazareth: The Mosque Quarter". Discover Israel. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  77. ^ It is often supposed that the Hapizzes went to Nazareth after the First Jewish Revolt (70 AD), but R. Horsley has pointed out that "the date of resettlement may well be well into the second (or even the third) century [AD]." History and Society in Galilee, 1996, p. 110. It was in 131 AD that the Roman Emperor Hadrian forbade Jews to reside in Jerusalem (then Aelia Capitolina, held by pagan Romans), thus forcing them elsewhere.
  78. ^ M. Avi-Yonah. "A List of Priestly Courses from Caesarea." Israel Exploration Journal 12 (1962):138.
  79. ^ Alexandre, Y. “Archaeological Excavations at Mary’s Well, Nazareth,” Israel Antiquities Authority bulletin, May 1, 2006.
  80. ^ Cook, Jonathon (22 October 2003). "Is This Where Jesus Bathed?". The Guardian.,3604,1067930,00.html. 
  81. ^ Cook, Jonathan. (17 December 2002.). "Under Nazareth, Secrets in Stone.". International Herald Tribune.. 
  82. ^ Shama-Sostar, Martina (12 August 2008). "The Ancient Bath House in Nazareth". 
  83. ^
  84. ^ a b Home found in Nazareth dates to Jesus' time
  85. ^ "Nazareth dwelling discovery may shed light on boyhood of Jesus", The Guardian, 21 December 2009, .
  86. ^ "Archeologists uncover house in Nazareth dating to time of Jesus", Jerusalem Post, 22 December 2009, .
  87. ^ R. Salm, "The Myth of Nazareth: The Invented Town of Jesus" (2008); F. Zindler, "Where Jesus Never Walked", American Atheist, Winter 1996-97, pp. 33-42.[3]

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : Middle East : Israel : Nazareth
For other places with the same name, see Nazareth (disambiguation).
Domed roof of the Basilica of the Annunciation
Domed roof of the Basilica of the Annunciation

Nazareth (Arabic الناصرة an-Nāṣirah, Hebrew נצרת Nasarat, [1]) is a city in northern Israel. With a population of 60,000, it is the largest Arab city in Israel proper with a mixed but quite harmonious Christian and Muslim population.


Nazareth is best known as the home of Joseph and Mary and hence 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 (built over 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 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 attracted hundreds of millions of pilgrims from around the world. Nazareth is also Israel’s largest Arab city and as such serves as a major cultural center. 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.

Get in

By bus

Nazareth is 102 km from Tel Aviv and 131 from Jerusalem. Take a bus number 823 or 826 from Tel Aviv New Central Bus Station directly to Nazareth (does not operate on Sabbath or Jewish holidays). The journey takes about 2 hours, or about an hour from Haifa (bus 331 from station Merkaz Hashmona - operates daily including the Sabbath and holidays).

From Jerusalem, there are two direct buses per day - excluding Sabbath and Jewish holidays (bus number 955) or take a bus to Afula and switch to a bus to Nazareth. There is also a daily bus during the summer (less frequent during the winter) from/to Amman operated by Nazarene 04-6010458

Get around

Central Nazareth can be easily covered on foot. There is also public transport, which also operates on Saturdays, however the buses tend to get stuck in the traffic.

  • The Basilica of the Annunciation is built above the sunken grotto which according to the Roman Catholic faith was the home of the Virgin Mary and the place where she received the Annunciation (the announcement of the imminent birth of Jesus). The large and impressive modern-day church is built above the remains of churches dating back to Crusader and Byzantine times, still visible on the lower level. The church boasts dozens of pictures donated by Christian communities around the world. The Largest Church in the Middle East and one of Christianity’s Holiest shrines, its imposing dome dominates the Nazareth skyline and is an ideal landmark and starting point for visiting Other churches. It marks the spot where the Archangel Gabriel Informed the Virgin Mary that God had chosen her to bear his son; there is also a tradition that Mary lived in a house on this site. The complex of the modern Basilica is built on two levels. The lower one,Making the traditional Roman Catholic site of the Annunciation, contains ancient remains of churches from the Byzantiane and Crusader eras. During archaeological excavations, relics were found dating back to the Canaanite settlement of Nazareth, Though the most interesting find was of a typical Nazarene house, hewn out of the rock, from the Roman Period. The upper level, built between 1959 and 1969 on the site of an 18th-century church, is in strikingly modern architectural style. With its stained- glass windows highlighted against bare stone.A garden and courtyard connect the Basilica to St. Joseph’s Church and Workshop. Admission to the Basilica is free. Hours: M-Sa 8:30AM-11:45AM & 2PM-5:50PM; Sun. and feasts 2PM-5:30PM. Winter, M-Sa 9AM-11:45AM & 2PM-4:30PM; Su and feasts 2PM-4:30PM.
  • Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation is built above a spring believed to be the source of a well where Mary drew water each day. This is the site where the Greek Orthodox tradition maintains that the Angel Gabriel revealed to Mary knowledge of the impending birth of Jesus. The church houses many interesting icons and wall paintings, as well as the holy spring. The church is open daily from 8AM-12PM and from 1PM-6PM. Shorts are not allowed. Contributions are expected. The Orthodox Museum is adjacent to the church. Entrance is currently free and the collection though small is quite spectacular. Those working at the church are temperamental, and have been known to arbitrarily shout at or remove pilgrims from the church.
  • St. Joseph’s Church, next to the Basilica of the Annunciation. Also known as Church of the Nutrition and Joseph’s Workshop, because it is believed that the cavern in the basement was Joseph’s carpentry shop, Built in 1914, on the foundations of a Crusader church, with Romanesque influences. Hours: Daily 9AM-11:45AM & 2PM-5:30PM.
  • Mary’s Well and the Ancient Bath House. The structure surrounding Mary’s Well (known as el-Sabil in Arabic) was recently renovated and restored to its original form. Mary’s Well is the symbol of Nazareth Municipality. Next to Mary’s Well is a pleasant souvenir shop named Cactus, belonging to Elias and Martina Shama. After buying the shop in the 1990s, the Shamas discovered that beneath it was concealed one of the most exciting and important discoveries in Nazareth in recent history: a network of beautifully preserved ancient stones arches that once supported a giant bath house. It is believed the exposed remains beneath the shop may date back to the ancient Roman era – that is, to the time of Jesus – and have been fed by the same water that supplied Mary’s Well­. There is an entrance fee to the site, but no advance reservation is necessary and guided explanations and hot and cold drinks are available to visitors.
  • El-Babour – The Mill of the Galilee, middle of Bishara street tel.# 04 645 5596. Go in through a little door on the right of the street following the aromas to a large shop that opened more than a hundred years ago as a flour mill and which today offers an array of fresh oils and spices which are a celebration to the eye the ear and the nose.
  • Diwan El Lajun Multi cultural center for the Stage Arts, Tel. #04.646 9413. In a beautiful space rich with arches is Café-Theater Diwan El Lajun which houses cultural and multi cultural activities in the stage arts and the traditional artisan work. Diwan El Lajun produces shows in Arabic, English, Hebrew and bi-lingual shows, folklore music concerts, literature, poetry and dance evenings, storey telling shows and circus shows from Israel and abroad. Arab-Jews meetings of adults and adolescents are taking place as well. Workshops in theater, storey telling, belly dancing circus and traditional crafts are being offered as well as well as Palestinian brocading. Location Sibat El Kaawer Alley (6098 near the suk)

Opening hours: M-Sa 9AM-3PM. Performances are mainly during the weekend or on special order for groups.

  • El Mas-jad El Abiad – the white mosque. The white mosque, the first mosque in the city was built by Abdalla El Nini, two hundred years ago. El Nini was a well respected judge and the first of the El Fahum tribe (El Fahum means the wisest of man). He set forth a policy that preaches for love and respect. In order to make sure his policy will continue after his death, he wrote in his will that the responsibility on the mosque will be given to the wisest of his sons or daughters or to the Ka-a-bee in Mecca so that the mosque will not be governed under any rule. Till today, the person responsible for the mosque (Ateph El Fahum reads all the sermons before they are preached to make sure they are fit and in honor of holidays of other religions sermons are being addressed in their honor. Opening hours: All light hours except praying hours and without pre arrangement.

Notes: please dress modestly and speak softly. In carpeted areas please take off shoes.


Walking Tour of the Old City (duration 3 hours)

The route begins at the Mary’s Well Square (ample parking nearby). Visit the recently renovated well area (el-Sabil). Opposite is the ancient bath house, also well worth a visit (entrance fee payable), including the pleasant souvenir shop Cactus and a guided tour followed by hot and cold drinks. The remains discovered beneath the shop are believed to date back to the early Roman era – the time of Jesus. From here continue to the nearby square to visit the famous Greek Orthodox St. Gabriel’s Church. This is the site at which, according to Greek Orthodox belief, Mary received the Annunciation from the Angel Gabriel. On exiting the church, walk along the Pilgrim’s Path towards the Municipality and the Mascobia building – an impressive project built in 1904 as a hospice for Russian pilgrims. Further along the Pilgrim’s Path, on Street 6098 (most of Nazareth’s streets are known by numbers rather than names), you reach Bishop’s Square. On the right is the Greek Orthodox Bishopric, a white building in the Greek style, faced on the opposite side by picturesque houses reminiscent of Venetian palazzos, which have recently been preserved and renovated. The house on the left is Authors’ House, an art institute. Continue along Street 6098 to an alley named Sebat Qa’war until you reach Folklore House (Beit al-Sebat), the home of Tanous Qa’war, Nazareth’s first mayor in 1875. From Folklore House turn left to Street 6132 going towards the vegetable market, then left again to Street 6089. Here you can visit Casa Palestina, a beautiful building that from 1810 was used to store barley, where the owners will tell you the history of the place. There is a cafי bar here, where you can take a break with Arabic coffee or a cold beer, as well as enjoying a free exhibition of handicrafts. Leaving Casa Palestina, pass through a vault leading to the Saraya building, the center of Ottoman rule from 1735 onwards. This attractive building is currently undergoing preservation work in preparation for conversion to a municipal museum.

Returning to the direction of the vegetable market and the courtyard of the White Mosque with its pencil-shaped minaret, walk along Street 6133 into the well-preserved and restored market. Stroll through lanes and alleys leading off to the right and left and investigate the shops with their great variety of goods. Among these alleys you will find the Synagogue Church. Eventually you will emerge opposite the Basilica of the Annunciation, an essential highlight of any tour of the city.

Hike the Jesus Trail (4 days - Nazareth to Capernaum)

Beginning at the Basilica of the Annunciation, the route winds through the Old City up to the Salesian Church and continues on to Zippori National Park, Mash'had and Cana for the first day. The trail is blazed with white/orange/white painted stripes, and more information can be found on the trail's official website [2].


A souq (Arab market) extends up the hill from the Church of the Annunciation.


The city’s many restaurants provide a full gastronomic experience in all types of Arab cuisine. Any visit to Nazareth must allow time to enjoy to the full the renowned and delicious local tradition of welcoming diners.


Right behind Mary's Well is a restaurant/bar called Al Bayat "The House". You can find pretty much any kind of alcoholic drink you like there and an extensive menu of international fusion cuisine. Locals like the outdoor patio for a local Palestinian beer called Taybeh, "Tasty" with complimentary pretzels and peanuts. Local musicians also play some nights.

  • Fauzi Azar Inn, Old City. Tel:04-6020469 (e-mail:, [3]. The Fauzi Azar Inn is the best starting-off point for touring the Galilee & Nazareth. The Inn is a 200 years Arab Mansion located at the heart of the market quarters of Nazareth, a short distance from the Central Bus Station and the Basilica of the Annunciation
  • Galilee Hotel, Paul 6th St. Nazareth (just north of the post office), Tel:06-6571311 Fax: 06-6556627, e-mail:, [4]. The hotel is situated near the town center,is a four minute walk from the main tourist center and can host 200 people, in 92 rooms, each having air-conditioning and private bathrooms.
  • Grand New Hotel [5], 5053/1 Har Hamutran, Tel: +972-4-6085400, Fax 972-4-6573020, email- Situated on one of the highest slope in Nazareth, The Hamutran Hill, in a quiet residential area. The hotel consists of 90 rooms overlooking the city of Nazareth, the Basilica of the Annunciation and the landscapes of the Jezreel Valley.
  • Nazareth Gardens Hotel, Tel: 972-4-6026666, (Fax: 972-4-6026676), [6]. The hotel was designed to blend into the pastoral landscapes and to compliment the awe-inspiring beauty of its natural surroundings. Temporarily closed as of March 2006.
  • Nazareth. Paulus VI St. (next to intersection with Haifa Rd.), tel: +972 (0)6 577 777.
  • The Rimonim Nazareth Hotel (Ha’Maayan) [7], Paulus VI Road, P.O.Box 2767, Nazareth 16000, Phone: +972-4-6500000 (In Israel 1-800-22-1202), (Fax: +972-4-67500055). The hotel is located in the center of the old city of Nazareth, close to the Church of the Annunciation, Suk, restaurants and other quaint tourist sites. The Hotel’s 226 comfortable rooms include air condition, cable TV, radio, in-room-safe and fax-modem connection. Business travelers are offered secretarial services, business lounge, meeting rooms and conference halls. The hotel has a covered parking garage.
  • Nazareth Plaza Hotel, 2 Hermon Street, Phone: +972-4-6028200, (Fax: +972-4-6028222, E-mail: The Nazareth Plaza Hotel overlooks the historical old city of Nazareth, and is close to Migdal Haemek Industrial park. It is conveniently located for excursions to Galilee religious sites and well situated as a center for trips to the north of Israel.
  • Golden Crown Hotel Nazareth, 2015 Mt of the Precipice Street. The Golden Crown hotel is situated at the southern entrance to Nazareth, alongside the Mount of Precipice and overlooking the marvelous landscapes of the picturesque Jezreel Valley.
This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

NAZARETH (mod. Nasira), a town in Galilee, in a hollow of the hills on the southern border of the plain of Esdraelon. It first appears as a village (John i. 46) in which Joseph and Mary lived (Luke i. 26) and to which they returned from Egypt (Matt. ii. 23). Here the unrecorded years of Christ's boyhood were spent. From the name of the town comes nasara (i.e. " Nazarenes"), the ordinary oriental word for "Christians." There was here a synagogue (Matt. xiii. 54) in which Christ preached the sermon that led to his rejection by his fellow townsmen. The growth of legends and traditional identifications can be traced in the writings of the pilgrims who have visited the town from Jerome's time till our own. ' For none of these can anything be said, save that it is possible that the village spring (called "St Mary's Well") is the same as that used in the time of Christ. A large basilica stood here about A.D. 600: the crusaders transferred here the bishopric of Scythopolis. It was taken by Saladin in 1187. In 1517 it was captured by the Turks. The population is now estimated at about 3500 Moslems and 6500 Christians; there are numerous schools, hospitals, &c., conducted by Greeks, Latins and Protestants. Visitors are shown the "Church of the Annunciation" with caves (including a fragment of a pillar hanging from the ceiling, and said to be miraculously supported) which are described as the scene of the annunciation, the "workshop of Joseph," the "synagogue," and a stone table, said to have been used by Christ.

<< Nazarenes

Nazarite >>


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:




Proper noun




  1. An ancient town in the Middle East, today in the state of Israel.


See also

  • The Hebrew term for Christianity נצרות (natsrut) is derived from the name Nazareth, due to its significance as the place of Jesus childhood.

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

separated, generally supposed to be the Greek form of the Hebrew netser, a "shoot" or "sprout." Some, however, think that the name of the city must be connected with the name of the hill behind it, from which one of the finest prospects in Palestine is obtained, and accordingly they derive it from the Hebrew notserah, i.e., one guarding or watching, thus designating the hill which overlooks and thus guards an extensive region.

This city is not mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the home of Joseph and Mary (Lk 2:39), and here the angel announced to the Virgin the birth of the Messiah (1:26-28). Here Jesus grew up from his infancy to manhood (4:16); and here he began his public ministry in the synagogue (Mt 13:54), at which the people were so offended that they sought to cast him down from the precipice whereon their city was built (Lk 4:29). Twice they expelled him from their borders (4:16-29; Mt 13:54-58); and he finally retired from the city, where he did not many mighty works because of their unbelief (Mt 13:58), and took up his residence in Capernaum.

Nazareth is situated among the southern ridges of Lebanon, on the steep slope of a hill, about 14 miles from the Sea of Galilee and about 6 west from Mount Tabor. It is identified with the modern village en-Nazirah, of six or ten thousand inhabitants. It lies "as in a hollow cup" lower down upon the hill than the ancient city. The main road for traffic between Egypt and the interior of Asia passed by Nazareth near the foot of Tabor, and thence northward to Damascus.

It is supposed from the words of Nathanael in Jn 1:46 that the city of Nazareth was held in great disrepute, either because, it is said, the people of Galilee were a rude and less cultivated class, and were largely influenced by the Gentiles who mingled with them, or because of their lower type of moral and religious character. But there seems to be no sufficient reason for these suppositions. The Jews believed that, according to Mic 5:2, the birth of the Messiah would take place at Bethlehem, and nowhere else. Nathanael held the same opinion as his countrymen, and believed that the great "good" which they were all expecting could not come from Nazareth. This is probably what Nathanael meant. Moreover, there does not seem to be any evidence that the inhabitants of Galilee were in any respect inferior, or that a Galilean was held in contempt, in the time of our Lord. (See Dr. Merrill's Galilee in the Time of Christ.)

The population of this city (now about 10,000) in the time of Christ probably amounted to 15,000 or 20,000 souls.

"The so-called 'Holy House' is a cave under the Latin church, which appears to have been originally a tank. The 'brow of the hill', site of the attempted precipitation, is probably the northern cliff: the traditional site has been shown since the middle ages at some distance to the south. None of the traditional sites are traceable very early, and they have no authority. The name Nazareth perhaps means 'a watch tower' (now en-Nasrah), but is connected in the New Testament with Netzer, 'a branch' (Isa 4:2; Jer 23:5; Zech 3:8; 6:12; Mt 2:23), Nazarene being quite a different word from Nazarite."

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

what mentions this? (please help by turning references to this page into wiki links)

Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right|Modern-day Nazareth]] Nazareth (IPA: /ˈnæzərəθ/) (נָצְרַת, Hebrew Natz'rat or Natzeret, Arabic: الناصرة an-Nāṣira or an-Naseriyye) is the capital city of the north district of Israel. Most of the people in this city are Arabs (who are both Muslim and Christian) - as well as some Jewish people. The city is very old and is also famous for being the city where it is believed Jesus grew up.

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address