Nazareth was a small and inconsequential village until the angel Gabriel visited Mary here and told her that she would conceive a child and that he should be called Jesus. Today, Nazareth is a bustling city with many sites of interest commemorating the Annunciation to inspire Christian tourists in Israel. Spend a day or two touring these sites during your visit to the Holy Land.
The first site in your tour of Nazareth will naturally be the Church of the Annunciation, which was built in the Byzantine period on the site where Mary received the angel. The current church was built on the foundations of the Byzantine church and the Crusader church that replaced it. The Church of the Annunciation is topped by a dome shaped like a lily flower, recalling the flower that Gabriel presented Mary. The inside of the church is decorated with mosaics, stained glass windows and other artwork. Walk down the stairs to the grotto underneath the church to see the actual site of the Annunciation.
Across from the Church of the Annunciation is St. Joseph's Church, lying over a cave that may have been Jesus' family home and/or Joseph's carpentry workshop. Underneath the crypt you can see an ancient water cistern from the first century.
Drinking from Mary's Well is an experience you won't want to miss. Mary's Well contains holy water which pilgrims from all over the world come to drink. The adjacent Church of St. Gabriel is worth a visit as well.
To experience daily life in the time of Jesus, visit Nazareth Village, a recreated first century village. See how the residents of Nazareth lived, worked and ran their households. Actors dressed in first century clothing roam the village, showing off their farming and production methods. They even retell the parables of Jesus, giving local context to the stories.
Two more Nazareth churches you won't want to miss are the Synagogue Church and the Church of Mensa Christi. The Synagogue Church was originally a synagogue, turned into a church during the reign of Constantine. The Church of Mensi Christi is a Franciscan church, commemorating the place where Jesus dined with his disciples after his resurrection.