The Basilica of the Annunciation
Traveling to Nazareth? Well, if you’re in Israel this year, you really should, because it is one of the most special Christian places to visit around the world. Once there, be sure to check out the Basilica of the Annunciation, a church that stands right in the middle of Nazareth. Look at what you’ll find there.
The Basilica of the Annunciation: A History
Watching the area evolve through the ages is a fascinating journey that was made possible by several excavations. In fact, four other churches stood on the same ground on which the current church presently resides. The first was constructed in the mid-4th century, but this was probably just a small shrine or altar to commemorate the area. After that somewhere near 340AD, a more impressive structure was commissioned by Emperor Constantine and St. Helena, his mother. This one had beautiful mosaics, some of which are still present today. After an Arab invasion, the church was destroyed.
Around 1100, Crusaders came and built another church on this location, a magnificent structure that stood for less than one hundred years. Once more, the Arabs destroyed this monument of faith. In the 1730’s the church was rebuilt for its fourth resurrection. The fifth and final reconstruction occurred in 1955, designed by Giovanni Muzio, though there is still controversy surrounding the church due to a mosque that was erected directly in line with the cathedrals.
The Basilica of the Annunciation was built directly over the location where Mary’s house stood. According to a passage from Luke, it was in this home that the angel Gabriel spoke to the Virgin Mary, and gave her the news of her immaculate conception and that she would soon birth the savior Jesus.
Upper and Lower Levels
The church is split into two main sections. The upper church is an impressive structure with a 170-foot tall cupola. It is used for the daily services of the Roman Catholic parish. The lower church is situated around the grotto. This is the area believed to be Mary’s home, and it also gives you a wonderful view of the remnants of the older churches.
Just one in a long line of meaningful attractions to visit on your next trip to Israel.