Bethlehem is the cradle of Christianity, The Church of The Nativity marks where Jesus Christ was born. Down the cave you can see the 14 point star where the birth took place. Bethlehem also contains the third most holy site for Judaism, Tomb of Rachel. On the east side Beit Sahour is located, also known as the city of the Shepherd’s, it is the city where The Angels first appeared to The Shepherd’s to announce the birthplace of Jesus.
Bethlehem was mentioned in the Old Testament in Genesis (35:19) as Bethlehem-Judah or Ephrathah to distinguish it from another city called Bethlehem located in The Zebulunite territory. The story of Ruth, Boaz and Naomi was layed around Bethlehem. Eventually Bethlehem came to be called the City of King David as a symbol of his great dynasty. As for the New Testament three gospels accounted Bethlehem to be where Jesus was born. Shepherd’s and Wisemen came to worship the Christ.
Built by Constantine the Great (330 A.D.) to this day The Church of the Nativity still stands over the cave where Jesus was born. Note that the original Church of the Nativity structure was partially destroyed by the Samaritans in 529 A.D. and then rebuilt by the Byzantine Roman emperor Justinian and It is one of the oldest surviving Christian churches in existence today.
One of the interesting facts about Christmas in Bethlehem is that it’s celebrated also on January 7th. As the Orthodox notions Christmas comes 13 days after the 25th of December which is marked the date Jesus was born according to the Georgian calendar.