The bells ring from church towers. Monks in hoods and frolicing children flashed among crowds of pilgrims from around the world. The aromas of fresh coffee, exotic spices and freshly baked bread are in the air of a colorful oriental bazaar.
Majestically towering over the red tiled roofs and minarets, stands on guard the Cathedral of the Annunciation, the silhouette of which dominates the city.
“… the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to the Virgin … the name of the Virgin: Mary … the angel, entering her, said: rejoice, gracious! the Lord is with you … you have found grace be with God … you conceive in the womb, and bear the Son, and you will call His name: Jesus. ” Gospel of Luke 1
The Gospel … The Annunciation … The Good News … (The third millennium will soon pass, and these words still come to mind when looking at the pastoral hills of Galilee, among which are Nazareth. Among the many antiquities of the Holy Land, the city of Nazareth is the undisputed source of the Christian Faith, the place where it all began.
In this, recessed between the hills in the valley, the once forgotten village, and today the largest Arab city in Israel, 60,000 people live. 30 churches, monasteries and monasteries preserve and support the ancient sources of faith. In spring, the hills are covered with a carpet of flowers, and “field lilies” are recalled and the biblical landscape clearly arises in the imagination.
The place where Christ spent most of his life as a boy and youth, and laid the foundation for faith, is the natural starting point of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In confirmation of the biblical message of peace to all mankind, the modern city is a model of the coexistence of religions, because almost 60% of the inhabitants in it are Muslims. Minarets of mosques together with church domes became an integral part of the city silhouette.
Modern buildings were built to protect the holy grottoes, ancient churches built in the Byzantine era and during the Crusades, and the very source from which the Virgin Mary took water. Visiting these places is a tribute to the origins of the Faith.
Temple of the Annunciation
This largest cathedral in the Middle East, majestically towering and visible from afar when approaching the city, belongs to the Order of the Franciscans. The modern building, consecrated in 1969, consists of two levels. In the lower church there is a grotto where, according to legend, the Virgin Mary lived and where the Angel told her the Good News, as well as the ruins of the ancient churches of the Byzantine Empire and the Crusaders. This important monument of archeology, including, in addition to the church, the remains of neighboring buildings, confirms that the biblical village of Pomeret was indeed located at this place. In the museum of the Franciscans, located on the territory of the cathedral, archaeological excavations are kept.
The upper part of the cathedral serves as the parish of the Roman Catholic Church. Its transparent dome, through which light freely passes and illuminates the interior, is stunning with its grandeur. The huge interior of the cathedral is filled with magnificent mosaics, works of art and ceramic bas-reliefs donated by the Catholic communities from around the world. The altar is decorated with amazing Italian mosaics. The courtyard connects the Cathedral of the Annunciation with the neighboring church of St. Joseph the Carpenter.