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Seeing Nazareth

Exploring Nazareth on foot

sunny 22 °C

Another beautiful hot sunny day!

We left the hotel at 7:30 am after a hearty breakfast. Today was to be spent looking around Nazareth on foot. We began by exploring the wonderful Church of the Annunciation, the largest Basilica in the Middle East, which is famous for its many large mosaic depictions, sponsored by countries around the world. This Basilica was right across the street from our hotel! In fact if your windows were on that side, you would have its inspirational view to ponder every day. Unfortunately, our balcony was on the other side.

We also looked inside an old, and very small Synagogue off a very small laneway. The laneway was lined with souvenir shops and fresh juice stands ... one of which received a lot of business from our group! We then walked to a nearby place called Nazareth Village, (a Biblically-themed “ancient” village). We had a tour guide who told us about some of the food that was grown, the way carpentry was done, how wool was “carted” and dyed for weaving and about how they worshipped in the temple, as we moved from station to station in the “village” watching staff members in period costume perform these tasks. In this village, they try and maintain these activities in the manner that they would have been done in those ancient times. We sat down for a simple lunch of lentil soup, bread, hummus and salad. It was delicious after being outside exploring all morning.

After our first-century lunch we visited Zippori National Park to see the extensive archeological ruins of the main administrative city in the Galilee region at the time of Jesus. There were many mosaics still quite intact on the floors of these ruins. Their wonderful stories are told through these pictures. The people, animals, and actions in the mosaics reveal invaluable information to historians about the events and “atmosphere” of the times. These were from the Byzantine period. We climbed to the top of the Crusader fortress to take in the 360 degree view, and were able to see part of Nazareth from there. There was a visitor centre with still more examples of mosaics - some authentic, others reproductions - and saw a short video about the history of the ruins we had been looking at. There was another enormous amphitheatre there, still in very good shape. It is truly mind-boggling how much and how well some of these structures have been built to still be standing today, 2000 years later. It was a beautiful day for a stroll through these ruins.

When we got back to the hotel that afternoon, we had a speaker from Nazareth Baptist School speak to us about the school, but before that, he told us about his own history. He is a Palestinian Christian (I hope I have that right - how people identify themselves in Israel is often quite a complicated matter) and the Director of the school.

Posted by Laura Walking 07:27 Archived in Israel

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