Nazareth and Bethlehem
Jewish, Moslem, and Christian holy sites all exist within a
small area.  Although the three religions share a common
heritage, this is ignored as conflicts persist.  
Nazareth is part of Israel, and above is the Church of the
Annunciation.  This modern Catholic Church is one of the
most holy Christian sites, where Mary learned she would
give birth to Jesus.  
The interior preserves portions of ancient churches
that formerly occupied this site.
On the second story are depictions of Mary and
Jesus from all over the world.  This Japanese version
was my favorite for artistic achievement.
Bethlehem is part of the west bank, a Palestinian city south of
Jerusalem that may or may not be occupied by Israel,
depending upon the political situation.  Its most holy site for
Christians is the Church of the Nativity, which contains a
dark, underground grotto believed to be the manger where
Jesus was born.  The ancient church appears ready to battle
invaders, with a very small entrance door.      
Inside the Church of the Nativity are various chapels from
different Christian denominations that share the space
uncomfortably.  This ancient division gives primacy to the
Eastern Orthodox, Armenian, and Catholic Churches.  
Above is the Catholic Chapel.  A similar partition exists in
Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to hold
the tomb of Jesus.     
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the
Intrepid Berkeley Explorer's free video of this trip by
clicking on:
Land of Milk and Chutzpah