Nazareth, Israel

Nazareth (Arabic an-Nāzirah) is a town in northern Israel, 88 miles north of Jerusalem. Nazareth has a population of about 60,000, of whom half are Arab Muslim and half are Arab Christian. Nazareth was the hometown of Jesus and thus is one of the most important Christian sites in the Holy Land. Christian pilgrims have been coming to Nazareth ever since the 4th century. (See our Footsteps of Jesus category for more sites in the Holy Land associated with the life of Jesus.) Important sights in Nazareth include several churches, traditional biblical sites, Byzantine ruins, and especially the modern Basilica of the Annunciation, which stands over the traditional site of Gabriel's announcement to Mary that she would give birth to the savior of the world.

Church of St. Gabriel
Orthodox tradition has it that the Annunciation occurred not at Mary's house but while she was fetching water. Therefore this 17th-century Orthodox church is built over the spring that feeds the ancient Mary's Well.
Basilica of the Annunciation
Completed in 1969, this Catholic basilica stands on the traditional site where the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear the Savior. It is built over Crusader and Byzantine foundations.
Mary's Well
This well is said to be the place from which Mary and the young Jesus drew water when they lived nearby. The structure built over it dates from the 19th century.