The area now known as the country of Israel and the territory of the West Bank contain important spiritual sites for many of the world's major faiths. For Christianity, these sites include the birthplace of Jesus, his hometown, and the places of many of his miracles. Although sites like the Vatican in Rome are holy for certain Christian denominations, many of the places in the Holy Land are significant for all Christians.
In the center of present day Israel along the border of the West Bank, Jerusalem is home to several holy sites for Christianity, Islam and Judaism. One of the most important places in the Christian faith is the site of Christ's crucifixion which took place at the hill known both as Golgotha and Cavalry just outside the city walls. Although the exact site of this hill is now unknown, many Christians point to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which Christians believe holds Christ's tomb. Christian pilgrims regularly travel to Jerusalem to visit its holy sites.
Christian belief teaches that when the Roman Emperor forced citizens to return to their hometown for a census, Joseph and Mary returned to the town of Bethlehem, just south of Jerusalem in the West Bank. It was in this town that Mary gave birth to Christ in a manger. Christian doctrine teaches that this manger was located in a cave and Christians from all over the world flock to this spot to visit both the site of the nativity and it's Church -- one of the oldest in the world.
Nazareth, in northern Israel, is the hometown of Jesus Christ which contains the synagogue where he preached a famous sermon that caused the townspeople to turn on him. The city is also home to several other significant places such as the Grotto of Annunciation, where Christians believe the archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to announce that God had chosen her to give birth to Christ. Several churches in the area, such as the Mensa Christi Church feature attached museums displaying holy relics.
Sea of Galilee
Many of the sites where Christ performed miracles have also become sacred places in the Christian faith. For example, the town of Nazareth is a short distance from the Sea of Galilee which was the site of one of Jesus' most famous miracles. According to the Bible, when Jesus' disciples were out on a boat, they saw a figure coming toward them. As it drew nearer, they realized the figure was Jesus and became convinced that he was the son of God. Several operators offer tours of this and other significant Christian sites throughout the Holy Land.
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