10 Churches Not to Miss in the Holy Land
As Christianity first began to flourish, many churches were built to mark the locations of various miracles and events in the life of Jesus. Modern churches have been constructed on the same sites and are visited each year by thousands of pilgrims. Read on for our picks of Israel's most iconic places of Christian worship.
- Church of the Nativity
Constructed over the cave that was the birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity consists of two chapels (Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox) and a grotto. UNESCO has named it a World Heritage Site.
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection, this is the most important pilgrimage site in the Holy Land. The church is lavishly decorated and contains the Rock of Calvary, the Altar of the Crucifixion and the Stone of Anointing.
- Basilica of the Annunciation
This Roman Catholic church is situated on the spot in Nazareth where Mary was informed of Jesus' impending birth. The church is decorated with scenes from the life of Jesus.
- Church of the Primacy of St PeterA Franciscan church in Tabgha, the Church of the Primacy commemorates Jesus giving Peter authority over the Apostles. The contemporary church contains a Mensa Christi (table of the Lord) and foundations of the original fourth century chapel.
- Church of the Loaves and Fishes
This holy site, also located in Tabgha, commemorates the event of Jesus miraculously feeding 5000 hungry revelers bread and cooked fish. The highlight of this structure is the series of restored fifth century mosaics, which depict plants and animals, with a focus on the lotus flower.
- Church of St. Gabriel
Greek Orthodox tradition cites this as the Nazareth location where Mary was drawing water when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. It is adjacent to Mary's Well, from which pilgrims draw holy water.
- Church of Beatitudes
The Church of Beatitudes is a Franciscan church, located on the site of the delivery of the Sermon on the Mount. Beautifully designed and landscaped, it looks out over the Sea of Galilee and the surrounding countryside.
- Church of All Nations
This Jerusalem church contains the bedrock where Jesus prayed before his arrest. Many nations contributed to the construction of the church, and they are honored in the building's architecture and design.
- Dormition Abbey
Located on Mount Zion, this church was built on the location of the Virgin Mary's death. It is currently a monastery for Benedictine monks.
- Church of the Transfiguration
This was the location where Jesus was transfigured and spoke to Moses and Elijah. The church, atop Mount Tabor, contains three Crusader-period grottoes and a gorgeous gold mosaic.