Kerk van de Annunciatie

10 Highly Rated Tourist Attractions in Nazareth

Nazareth (in Hebrew, Nazerat, in Arabic, En-Nasra) is the largest Arab city in Israel, with a mixed population of Christian and Muslim Arabs. This city of churches is a major tourist attraction and pilgrimage site for the world’s Christians, who believe it to be the site of the Annunciation – when the Archangel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary. It is also thought that Jesus spent his adolescence there, and in the nearby village of Cana, he is believed to have performed the first of his miracles. The main highlight of the city is the Church of the Annunciation, where every pilgrim and tourist comes upon arrival. Afterwards you can take a walk through the old market area of ​​the city. This lively, noisy,

1 Church of the Annunciation

Church of the Annunciation

Considered one of the most important churches of modern times in Israel and the top of the things to do list in Nazareth, the current Church of the Annunciation was built in 1969. However, archaeological evidence shows that a church has sat on this site since at least the 3rd century AD. In the 4th century, the Empress Helena (mother of Constantine the Great, who ruled the Byzantine world from his capital in modern-day Istanbul) had a second church built, which was destroyed by the Persians in 614. The Crusaders later built a basilica with three aisles. It was razed to the ground again, this time by Sultan Baibars. The site then lay empty until 1730 when the Franciscans received permission to build a new church,

Built to depict the history of all the churches that have stood here, the plan of today’s Church of the Annunciation is based on the Crusader Church, while the side walls are built on the surviving fragments of older walls, with the east end apses of the crusader church incorporated into the design. In the floor of the church is a large octagonal opening overlooking the lower level and the older structures below – the Grotto of the Annunciation and the remains of the earliest churches on the site. Over this area, which can also be seen from the upper church, is the dome.

Adres: Annunciation Street, Town Center

Read also: 12 Highly Rated Churches in Florence

2 Mary of Nazareth International Center

If you want to supplement your visit to the church with some understanding of Nazareth’s importance in Christian beliefs, don’t miss the Mary of Nazareth International Center, located opposite the Church of the Annunciation. Run by the Chemin Neuf Catholic community, it features a multimedia show in the Bible and a series of film exhibits explaining the life of Mary and her representation in both the Bible and the Quran, as well as the story of early Christianity and the Eastern Church. There is also a small archaeological dig on site which shows the foundations of a house dating back to the 1st century AD and a large beautifully landscaped garden with a pleasant restaurant with great views over Nazareth.

Adres: Annunciation Street, Town Center

Official site:

3 St. Joseph’s Church

St.  Joseph's Church
St. Joseph’s Church

Next door to the Church of the Annunciation Within the same complex is St. Joseph’s Church, built in 1914. Its site has traditionally been held by believers where Joseph once had his carpentry workshop. The church itself is small and plain – particularly when compared to the Church of the Annunciation – but steps lead down below the modern church to the main point of interest, where a cistern and a series of storage pits can be seen. This underground level dates back to the early 1st century AD.

Adres: Annunciation Street, Town Center

4 Salesian Monastery & Church of Jesus the Adolescent

Salesian Monastery & Church of Jesus the Adolescent
Salesian Monastery & Church of Jesus the Adolescent

Just north of the town center a path winds up the hill to this commanding monastery and school run by the Salesian Catholic order. The Church of Jesus the Adolescent, built in 1918, is located on the property. Even if you feel a little stripped down from all the basilica smears on display in Nazareth, it’s worth coming here just for the views over the city and surrounding countryside. In the church, above the main altar, is a statue of a young Jesus.

Adres: Salesian Street, Nazareth

5 Synagogue Church

Tourist Attractions in Nazareth
Synagogue Church

Nestled in Nazareth’s market district is the synagogue church, which belongs to the Greek Catholic Melkite community. To the left of the door is a door that leads to the synagogue, where Jesus is said to have participated as an adolescent. Despite this traditional belief, archaeological evidence points to the synagogue at the earliest, probably dating from the 6th century AD. The church itself was built in 1887 and has a rather large dome that is sided by two bell towers.

Location: Market District, City Center

6 St. Gabriel’s Church en Mary’s Well

Tourist Attractions in Nazareth
St. Gabriel’s Church and Mary’s Well / photo modified

St. Gabriel’s Church (also known as the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation) is one of two sites in Nazareth that claimed to be where the Annunciation took place. It was built over the village well, where in the Greek Orthodox tradition the Archangel Gabriel first appeared to Mary. In the crypt under the church, the source still flows. The upper church itself has some extraordinary frescoes that are worth a visit. If you want to visit the other contender for the title of Mary’s Well, head south Church Square to the aptly named Mary’s Well Square, whose followers of the Eastern Orthodox Church believe it to be the real site.

Adres: Church Square, Town Center

7 Old bathhouse

This Roman bathhouse, near Mary’s Well , was discovered during the remodeling of the souvenir shop on the site. The shopkeepers have since partially excavated the site and opened it for tours. The bathhouse tour takes in the caldarium (steam room), the oven that once heated the baths, and the hypocaust heating tunnels. There is also a lot of information about the excavation work the owners have carried out so far. This is a great stop for anyone interested in history.

Adres: Church Square, Town Center

Official site:

8 Mensa Christi Church

Tourist Attractions in Nazareth
Mensa Christi Church

The domed Franciscan Mensa Christi (Christ’s Table) Church has a fairly simple interior, but contains a 12-foot-long and 10-foot-wide piece of stone that is believed to have been eaten by the Risen Christ with his disciples. The current church, built on the site of an older church, dates from 1861 and has undergone extensive renovations in recent years. The church is usually kept closed, but the guardian is normally around and you can enter by asking for the key.

Location: City Center

9 Cana (Kafr Kanna)

Tourist Attractions in Nazareth
Cana (Kafr Kanna)

Cana is one of two sites (the other is in southern Lebanon) vying for the title of the place where Jesus performed his first miracle – turning water into wine. It is an attractive town for a half day excursion from Nazareth, with three churches commemorating the miracle that may or may not have occurred here. In the center of Cana, a Franciscan church was consecrated in 1883. Local tradition holds that the church was built on the site where the miracle took place. Visitors here can usually see an ancient jar that is said to be one of six jars that the water was turned into. Opposite the Franciscan Church is the rather dilapidated Greek Orthodox Church, built in 1556 on the site of an earlier mosque. Also shown here are two stone jars, said to have been involved in the miracle (although they are probably no more than 300 years old).

On the north side of Cana is Nathanael Chapel , which also belongs to the Franciscans. It was built in the late 19th century in honor of Nathanael of Cana, who was initially prejudiced against Jesus (“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”) but then worshiped him as the Son of God (John 1, 46- 49) and was also present when the risen Christ appeared to the disciples at the Sea of ​​Tiberias (John 21:2).

Location: 8 kilometers northeast of Nazareth

10 Zippori

Tourist Attractions in Nazareth

The remains of ancient Zippori (Sepphoris) are an excellent day trip from Nazareth. Excavations here by American archaeologists have revealed findings from Roman times, when the city was known as Diocaesarea, right up to the Crusades era. The Crusaders built a castle and a church here dedicated to St. Anne (mother of the Virgin Mary), and the Crusader army gathered at Zippori on July 2, 1187 before their march on Hittim, where they suffered a crushing defeat by Saladin.. Walking through the site gives you a real feel for the layers of settlement here, with the Byzantine church , a Roman theater and the remains of the Crusader castlethe top attractions. To the west, the dilapidated remains of the old waterworks and large cisterns are known as the “Caves of Hell”. Walking up to the Ottoman fortress on the hill will give you a beautiful panoramic view of the entire site.

Location: 7 kilometers northwest of Nazareth


Excavations from 1955 show that the hill on which the Church of the Annunciation and St. Joseph’s Church stand was inhabited from the time of the patriarchs (2nd millennium BC). The small houses of the village were built on the tombs of the 2nd millennium and underground chambers carved out of the local tuff stone that were used in the first half of the 1st millennium BC. Was used as storage areas.

The name Nazareth first appears in the New Testament in the account of the Annunciation (Luke 1,26-33), and Jesus is said to have lived here until after his baptism by John (Luke 3,21). In the early Christian period, the Grotto of the Annunciation became a much-revered pilgrimage site, and the current church is the fifth to be built on the site. An early site of Christian settlement, Nazareth was taken by the Persians in AD 614, who destroyed it along with the Jews. After that, the Christian population declined. However, in 629 AD, Nazareth was recovered by the Byzantines, who retaliated by destroying the homes of the Jewish population. The place was not rebuilt until the time of Tancred, the Norman crusader who took Nazareth in 1099 and ruled as Prince of Galilee.

Nazareth was destroyed again in 1263 at the hands of Baibars and his Mamluks. Thereafter, no Christians were allowed to live in the city until the Druze ruler Fakhr ed-Din revoked the ban in 1620. The city developed in the 19th and 20th centuries under Ottoman and later British rule. In 1948, Nazareth became part of Israel and the new Jewish settlement of Nazareth Illit (Upper Nazareth), with its own administration, grew up in the hills above the city.

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