One of the oldest cities in the world – Bethlehem. His story begins in the XVII century BC this land is Especially important for Christians, because according to the gospel, this is the place where Jesus Christ was born.
Long road to modernity
Just 6 miles from Jerusalem lies the second important place of pilgrimage for the Christians of Bethlehem. Today, these points are practically merged.
Bethlehem is the second after Jerusalem is sacred to Christians of the city. According to the Bible, was born here and anointed king David.
At last count, the city had more than 25,000 inhabitants. It is worth noting that only a small fraction of them are true Christians. This situation is due to historical conditions. The first references date back to the XV century BC for a Long time it was ruled by wise and kind kings. This period was also tied to the architecture around.
The first inhabited the region where Jesus Christ was born, the Canaanites, who called their country "the promised Land". In the second half of the II Millennium BC the territory was conquered by the Jews and named it Palestine. In Byzantine times, the pagan temples were converted into Christian. In 600 years the city was first captured by the Persians and then the Muslims.
Christian shrines are under occupation
For several centuries the territory was under Islamic rule until Pope urban II organized a crusade and for a time returned to the city. Further, up to the First world, the Holy land belonged to the Ottoman Empire. Despite the striking difference between religious beliefs, a place where Jesus Christ was born, could freely visit all the pilgrims. After the war the region came under the rule of Britain. In 1947, Bethlehem was under Israel. A year later, his Jordan captured and held until 1967.
Now para is the capital of the homonymous province. Due to the troubled political situation, which often leads to military action, there was a mass immigration of Christians from the city. Today their share is 10 to 15 %. However, faith has a strong influence on the government. For example, the mayor can only be a follower of Jesus.
The first house
To every believer the well-known story of the birth of the Savior. There is no doubt about the place where Jesus Christ was born. The city of Bethlehem became the first home of the son of God.
The honor that befell Mary, the virgin told the Archangel Gabriel, who appeared to her in Nazareth. The same mystery was revealed to Joseph. According to the prophecy, the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, went from its roots. Contributed to this and the historical circumstances. Allegedly Luke, the couple left Nazareth, where they still lived, to take part in the census. By order of the Roman Emperor, all the inhabitants had to register the land of their ancestors. And since Mary and Joseph were descendants of king David, they went to Bethlehem the city where Jesus Christ was born.
There the woman had the baby coming. Inns free space it was impossible to find, so the family stayed in the cave. The baby came to worship the shepherds and the Magi.
King Herod knew about the prophecy and the coming of a just ruler, so he ordered to kill all children. But the angel advised Joseph to flee to Egypt.
The main temple of humanity
Tourism in the region is well developed. But, unlike other settlements, Bethlehem kept the atmosphere of the past. Its architecture is striking in its simplicity and asceticism.
Many may boast of the city, but its outstanding attraction is the Basilica of the Nativity, built on the cave where Jesus Christ was born. The place has tremendous energy, so it is visited by believers of different directions. The power of this building can only be compared with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The first stones were laid by Constantine the Great in 330. The initiator of construction was the mother of the Emperor, Elena, who went to the Holy places. This is one of the oldest churches that has been active for many centuries. It had not changed its original appearance.
It should be noted that this cave was shown to the faithful, although no one knew exactly where Jesus Christ was born. The city had a more natural groove. Quite a lot of such places there are on the road to Jerusalem. However, Elena made a choice based on the works of Protoevangelion Jacob.
The Tsar in the manger
Researchers believe that the hole in the rock is of natural origin. Local residents used the room as a barn, they themselves lived above, conditional on the second floor. In the middle of the cave was carved out of the stone manger, where Mary and put the baby. Was there and the ring to which were tied animals. Similar construction was used until the twentieth century. In the same cave fate brought the virgin Mary.
The height of the improvised crib is 3 m, the other parameters are 12.3 × 3.5 m. The shrine was lit by lamps. Now except for candles use electricity. On the walls of the icon.
Preserved and the manger in the cave where Jesus Christ was born. The place with the cradle belongs to the Catholics, although the natural object in the possession of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem. Next is an altar “adoration of the Magi”.
The Star of God's Son
Two ladders lead to the room, one of which belongs to Orthodox and Armenians, the second to Catholics. Pilgrims descend from the first, southern, and climb the northern.
Special attention of tourists deserve the silver star. Symbol built into the floor, gilded and decorated with precious stones. 14 diverges from the sun rays. The inscription inside shows that this is the place where Jesus Christ was born. Photo of the star of Bethlehem can be seen in the material. All of this is in a niche, over which hangs 16 candles. Two located on the floor. Here conduct the Liturgy.
This part is cleaned especially magnificently and is very popular among parishioners. The star became a symbol of purity and happiness.
The Holy city is called Bethlehem, which in Hebrew translates as "house of bread". In Arabic its pronounced as Beit-Lahm, i.e., "the abode of meat." Often, the name is appended with the Euphrates, which means "fertile". But the most famous name – "Kingdom of David". According to the prophecy, this ruler blood flowed in the veins of the Messiah. City Saviour has many miraculous places.
Bethlehem is known not only for the Church of the Nativity, in which the cave where Jesus Christ was born, but also the neighboring structures. Noteworthy Milk Grotto. Legends tell that hiding from Herod, the family hid in a crevice in the rock. The mother wanted to feed the baby, and a few drops of milk fell to the ground. This wall was white.
Above this place is an icon where Maria and the baby are depicted. Clay from the cave saves from various ailments.
The Feast Of The Birth Of Christ
Bethlehem begins a new page in our history, is a new countdown. To visit the city needs every believer. It opens the horizons and expands the knowledge of the Universe and man. Annually held the Liturgy in the place where Jesus Christ was born. The country is preparing for the holiday with trepidation. The whole planet is watching the action.
Despite the fact that the celebration falls on different numbers, the same Bethlehem on the 25 December and 7 January. Settled actions in the streets show scenes of the Nativity. The mass of tourists and pilgrims to celebrate the Birth of the son of God together.
Now residents of the city are trying to earn money on visitors, but Bethlehem has not yet lost the trembling spirit of greatness.