5 Fascinating Places to Visit in the City of Nazareth

February 24th 2020

The ancient city of Nazareth, in northern Israel, is a popular place to visit for foreign tourists and Israelis alike. It’s especially significant site for Christians, being the childhood home of Jesus. The town features a variety of Christian sites including churches, monasteries, and pilgrimage routes. 

Nazareth’s Old City has a bustling old shuk (market) which attracts people from across Israel looking for traditional Arab food and products. As such an old city, dating back to biblical times, it’s no surprise there’s a lot of rich history associated with the area, including Jewish, Christian, and Islamic. 

Nazareth, often referred to as “the Arab capital of Israel” is predominantly comprised of Israeli Arab citizens. It’s a warm and welcoming city and for visiting Christians, a wondrous place to discover more about Christian tradition.  

Here are just 5 of the fascinating sites you can visit when touring Nazareth: 

Nazareth Village Museum

Nazareth Village is an open-air museum recreating what life would have looked like two thousand years ago, during the time of Jesus. The museum contains recreated village scenes, terraced fields, animals, and examples of technology from the era, together with actors in period costume. A great place to visit for all the family. 

Church of the Annunciation

The Church of the Annunciation – also known as the Basilica of the Annunciation – is a Catholic church said to be built on the site where the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary announcing she would conceive the “Son of God”. The current church was built in 1969, over the remains of previous churches as well as what is believed to be the remnants of the Virgin’s home. 

Mary’s Well

Not far from the Church of the Annunciation is Mary’s Well, which is considered an alternative site for the Angel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary. The site is where, for thousands of years, local villagers and townspeople would come to draw water from an underground spring. The current structure is a representation of what the well might have looked like during the time of Jesus.  

By the way, a number of our Shalom Israel Tours include a visit to Nazareth including our ’12 Day Classic Israel Group Tour’.  

Church of St. Gabriel

A very short walk from Mary’s Well is yet another site which is considered the location of the Annunciation, according to the Greek Orthodox Church. This beautiful church, constructed during the 18h Century over a previous chapel, is situated over the same underground spring as the aforementioned well. Water still runs through the apse of the church. The original medieval subterranean chapel, accessed via steps, is truly atmospheric. 

For groups of 12 people or less, we offer 12 Day Delux Tours, which also visit Nazareth.  

Convent of the Sisters of Nazareth

Near to the Church of the Annunciation is a convent and guesthouse belonging to the Sisters of Nazareth. Below the building, archeological excavations over many decades have revealed what some believe to be the family home of Joseph and Mary, where Jesus was brought up. The remains date to the 1st Century. Also discovered were catacombs, a large hall, water cisterns, and a Jewish burial ground. 

Group tours of the underground site are available, by prior appointment.