The City of Nazareth
History of Nazareth
Archaeological finds in Nazareth date back to 9000 B.C. However, Christian interest in the city begins during the Biblical era. We first read about it in the Gospels when Gabriel visited Mary to tell her of her imminent pregnancy and future son. We learn of Jesus' hometown in Luke, and there are other references to Nazareth during his years of ministry. After spending time away, Jesus returned to Nazareth and read from the Torah in the synagogue there.
Sites to visit
According to tradition, the site where Mary bathed her son and washed his clothes is called Mary’s Well. The ancient structure was destroyed and rebuilt in the 1960’s. Mary’s well contains holy water that pilgrims come from around the world to drink. The Mary of Nazareth International Center, which opened in 2010, offers an audiovisual voyage into the life of the Virgin Mary and the origin of Christianity. Mary’s Center also has meeting rooms, prayer spaces, a cafeteria, and gift shop.
St. Gabriel Church of the Annunciation is believed to be where the angel Gabriel revealed to Mary that she would give birth to the baby Jesus. The church is located above the underground spring that supplies Mary’s Well. The Church is crowned with a dome in the shape of a lily, reminiscent of the flower that Gabriel gave to Mary. The inside of the church is filled with mosaics, stained glass windows, and other works of art. Descend the stairs to the grotto beneath the church to see the actual site of the Annunciation.
Nazareth Village is a recreated first-century village where visitors can see how residents of Nazareth lived and worked. Actors dressed in first-century clothing walk around the village demonstrating their methods of farming and production. They even retell parables of Jesus, giving local context to the legends.