Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel with a population of about 75,000 of whom 69% are Muslim and 30.9% are Christian, mostly Orthodox, but including Maronites, Roman Catholic, Melkite Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Evangelicals and Copts. In the New Testament, the city is described as the childhood home of Jesus, and hence is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical events.
The Church of St. Gabriel is located over an underground spring, which according to Eastern Orthodox belief is where the Virgin Mary was drawing water at the time of the Annunciation.
Water from the spring still runs inside the apse of the church; it also feeds the adjacent site of Mary’s Well, located 140 meters away.
In the old city market is the Synagogue church, a Melkite Greek Catholic church at the traditional site of the synagogue where Jesus studied and prayed. This is where one Sabbath morning Jesus delivered his famous sermon (Matthew 13, Mark 6, Luke 4) based on Isaiah 61, where he declared himself the Messiah.
This so infuriated the congregation that they wanted to throw him off a nearby cliff. Just outside Nazareth, Mount Precipice is believed to be the site described in Luke 4:29-30 but “he passed through the midst of them and went away.”
St Joseph’s Church marks the traditional place of Joseph’s carpentry workshop.
Under the Mary of Nazareth International Center, next to the Church of the Annunciation, an archaeological excavation recently conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority has uncovered remains of a dwelling that date to the Early Roman period. According to excavation director Yardenna Alexandre, “The discovery is of the utmost importance since it reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth and thereby sheds light on the way of life at the time of Jesus”.
Based on solid New Testament scholarship and the most up-to-date archaeology, Nazareth Village brings to life a farm and Galilean village, recreating Nazareth as it was 2,000 years ago, when Jesus lived there.
Church of the Annunciation is the largest Catholic church in the Middle East. In Roman Catholic tradition, it marks the site where the Archangel Gabriel announced the future birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-31). The new modern, fortress-like basilica was designed by the Italian architect Giovanni Muzio and built by the Israeli construction firm Solel Boneh during the years 1960-69.