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The Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth

The Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth

Being Catholic and have spent many years in catechism studying, l know the story of Jesus….how the Angel Gabriel spoke to Mary. and told her that she would become pregnant with a boy. His name would be Jesus. He would be the Son of God.  I was thrilled to be in Israel and to get to actually see where these events take place.

Our trip started in Jerusalem, so before I got to the Christian sites,  I got to visit an amazing collection of sites holy to other religions.  We visited the Wailing Wall and we went Behind the Wailing Wall to the mosque on the Temple Mount.  After a few days, we travelled a few hours to the City of Nazareth.  This small Jewish village was where Mary lived as a peasant girl, became pregnant, married Joseph, then bore a Son called Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but I would have probably freaked out if someone appeared in front of me and said you’re pregnant and are going to have a son.  Especially as a young virgin.

The cave in which Mary received the news from Gabriel that she would give birth to Jesus is now the site of The Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth.  The Catholic church was established at the site where, according to Roman Catholics, the Annunciation took place.

 

The Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth
The Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth
The Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth
The Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth

 

The current church is a two-story building constructed in 1969 over the site of an earlier Byzantine-era and then Crusader-era church.  The site has been a pilgrimage destination since earliest times and remains an important stop for Holy Land pilgrims today.

The outside doors of the church foretells the story of Jesus Christ by portraying pictures telling the story of his life.   The artwork and detail of the door was very impressive.

 

The Church of the Annunciation Door, Nazareth
The Church of the Annunciation Door, Nazareth
The Church of the Annunciation Door, Nazareth
The Church of the Annunciation Door, Nazareth

 

Inside the church, the lower level contains the Grotto of the Annunciation, believed by many Christians to be the remains of the original childhood home of Mary.  People gather behind the gates and admire the altar which was placed as a shrine.

 

Grotto of the Annunciation Grotto of the Annunciation , Basilica of the Annunciation
Grotto of the Annunciation, Nazareth
Grotto of the Annunciation Altar in the Basilica of the Annunciation
Grotto of the Annunciation Altar, The Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth
Opening above the Grotto of the Annunciation , Basilica of the Annunciation
Opening above the Grotto of the Annunciation, The Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth 

 

A shrine was built in the middle of the 4th century, comprising an altar in the cave in which Mary had lived. The Church of the Annunciation was founded around the same time as the Church of the Nativity (the birthplace), and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (the tomb).  Some version of it was known to have still been in existence around 570 AD, but it was destroyed in the 7th century after the Muslim conquest of Palestine.

In 1730, the Franciscans built a new church on the site. The church was enlarged in 1877, and then completely demolished in 1954 to allow for the construction of a new church, which was completed in 1969.

 

Inside The Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth
Inside The Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth
The Church of the Annunciation Ceiling, Nazareth
The Church of the Annunciation Ceiling, Nazareth
The Church of the Annunciation, Narareth
The Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth

 

One of the most striking things about the Church of the Annunciation are the international mosaics contributed from around the world: Mosaics Church of the Annunciation

 

This tour was part of the National Geographic Expeditions: The Holy Land: Past, Present, and Future, and Mejdi Tours.

 

About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

10 Comments

  1. Hi Carmen – As a fellow Catholic, I think this is quite fascinating. Like you, I grew up hearing the stories of the Bible but I never knew Mary lived in a cave! I would love to visit Nazareth and see this with my own eyes.. Great post – great pics!

    • Carmen

      Hi Laura,

      We visited several religious sites during our trip, each one was fascinating. I wish I would of seen these sites when I was young and learning about them. More post to follows…

  2. Rachel G
    Reply

    This looks like such an awesome place to visit! I would love to go to Israel someday.

    • Carmen

      Hi Rachel,

      It’s hard to imagine that a city lays beneath this church. Israel is a beautiful country, hope you get to visit one day.

  3. Hi Carmen, If you like to see more of the artwork like the door Google Niel Steenbergen. This just is one of many beautiful pieces from his hands!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Thanks Stephan! I’ll definitely check out the website.

    • Antoinette Bremer

      Hi Carmen,
      I loved the place and the church. Marvellous photos you have. About the doors. Years ago I was there and noticed that the doors of the North Portal were made in Voorschoten/ The Netherlands where I live. May be the other doors as well. Recently I found out that nobody being expert in the history of this factory -from origin a factory making silverwork- knows this. When I was there because it was so crowded I could not make pictures. Please could you make photos for me -if not possible because of the crowd- only a detailed part of the door where you can see as well `Begeer Voorschoten`? The foundation that is busy with this history woul be very happy. Antoinette

    • Carmen Edelson

      Hi Antoinette, thank you for your comment! Was this comment meant for Stephan? I am sorry I cannot provide more photos as I am not there.

  4. Antoinette
    Reply

    Hi Carmen, thanks for your reply. I had hope that maybe you would come there again soon and could make pictures for me. I do not know which doors Stephan meant probably the main entrance, but I wondered Steenbergen being Dutch, if there was a connection with the “Siverfactory”

    • Carmen Edelson

      No plans to now but hopefully one day!

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