40 Nazareth Photos: Where Joseph, Mary, and Jesus lived

40 Nazareth Photos

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The Church of the Annunciation



We have 4 posts left in this Israel series: Nazareth, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, and What to Wear When Touring Israel.

Today let’s see Nazareth!!

Most signage in Israel is in Hebrew, Arabic, and English, which we were thankful for.

Alan was able to join me for one last day of touring. We could not have been more excited to hop on that bus and head to Nazareth.

This part of the town where the churches are located was a largely Muslim area. There is another part of Nazareth where the Jews live.

My day was off to an uplifting start. Our first stop was a gift shop, where the store manager instructed his employee to give me a special discount for having such pretty blue eyes.

Yes, flattery does work on me. I thoroughly enjoyed the compliment, but I didn’t actually buy anything. I usually count my photos as my best souvenirs.

The Church of the Annunciation, also in Nazareth, had these beautiful murals of Mary with Jesus. Countries from all over the world each sent one.

from France

I don’t know which country this one was from, but I liked it.

Rather than attempt to remember which church was which, since we saw two right next to each other that day, I’m just going to call this all Nazareth.

Why was Nazareth important?

Nazareth is where Jesus lived with his parents after they returned from hiding from King Herod in Egypt.

It is also where Mary received the news that she would bear a son, the child of God, who would be called Emmanuel.

Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”       John 1:46

Did you know that Jesus visited Nazareth twice in his ministry, and was unwelcome both times? In fact, once they tried to stone him there, but he got away.

 

from the United States

“And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples followed him. 2And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us?

 

And they were offended at him. 4But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6And he marvelled because of their unbelief.”          ~Mark 6:1-6

The importance of the church of the Annunciation is that it is where Gabriel visited Mary.

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth,”              Luke 1:26

where Gabriel appeared to Mary

art from Spain

That’s Nazareth behind me….and an attractive broody looking Latin man…Actually, he was from Texas. He looked that serious all day.

 

heading up the steep hill to see the sights, following behind our tour guide

Y’all, this area is extremely hilly, mountainous, and most of all BUMPY! My Fitbit gave me credit for like 200 flights of stairs. No, I didn’t climb anywhere near that many, but apparently if you ride on an extremely rough road at a slow enough speed, the Fitbit believes you are mountain climbing.

The mountain of the famous SERMON ON THE MOUNT!!!!! Squee!!!!!!

The Sermon on the Mount mountain wasn’t actually in Nazareth. We saw it during the van ride.

You can imagine my dismay when my camera couldn’t handle the strong Israeli outlets. My real camera was my photography tool of choice. I was extra careful to charge it before we left the hotel. The powerful outlet charged it super-fast, but it wasn’t actually charged.

My camera battery died as soon as we reached the churches at the top of the hill. This may sound overly dramatic, but I totally wanted to cry over the fact that the rest of these photos are iPhone quality, indoors. Sad, sad, sadness!!!

This artwork, from Japan, is the most valuable one in the place, made partially with pearls.

 

At each holy site, there were always written prayers and change thrown in there.

The church is built on top of the old village. People actually lived under ground back then to stay cool. This is believed to be the site of Joseph’s stone carving shop.

where Joseph worked

The green light gives it an eery quality, doesn’t it?

This is the modern, Jewish, section of Nazareth.

There are those beautiful bushes again! I saw these all over Israel, and I want one for my yard now.

 

We re-boarded our van and headed for Capernaum. Alan fell asleep, and I tried to sneak a picture, but he caught me.

 

Now he’s just being silly.

 

Sleep tight, Honey. That ride was so rough; I don’t know how anyone could sleep through it.

 

More Nazareth Photos:

I do not recall much more to tell you about these, but I this is what it looked like:

“And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

25And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. 26And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. 28And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.

Mark 1:23-28

 

The next place we went was Capernaum, and y’all, it was our FAVORITE. The synagogue, referenced in the Bible, where Jesus taught and performed miracles, is still there. You can see it.

Yes, there’s a newer synagogue on top of it, which is so old, even it is from the 4th century AD, but they’ve excavated so that you can see the ruins of the entire town from the days of Jesus and his disciples.

Capernaum was the town that was the most spiritually moving to me, and I’m going to tell you all about it. Look for that post next week.

If you want to be sure to not miss it, comment below or send me a message, and I can tag you when I post it on Facebook, or you can also sign up to receive allll my posts, in my sidebar, but I do warn you that I post every week. Ha!!

 

 

Want to see more of my Israel trip? Here are a few of the other Israeli places I blogged about:

Jerusalem: Where Jesus was Crucified

Jerusalem: The Mount of Olives

Tel Aviv

Jaffa: One of the Oldest Seaports in the World

 

 

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Intriguing Photos from Touring Old Jaffa, Historic Home of Simon the Tanner

our view, walking to Jaffa

For me, touring Israel was all about the history. I wanted to EXPERIENCE the Bible lands. Historic sites, ground that Jesus walked on, that was what we were after.

So on day 1, we crashed with jet lag and didn’t leave our hotel.

On day 2, we rushed off to Jerusalem, as fast as our tour bus could take us.

On day 3, Alan was working, and Julie and I were feeling out our surroundings, so we walked all over Tel Aviv, to see what we could find interesting. Day 3 was exhausting, and sweaty, extremely sweaty.

This whole trip was so sweaty, I needed 14 changes of clothes. I actually had to find a local store and buy more underwear because silly me, I’d anticipated 1 pair a day, not two.

Day 4 brought the excitement.

Day 4 was one of the highlights of the trip. For day 4, Julie and I were on a mission. Jaffa, also called Yafo, also referred to in the Bible as Joppa, is exactly 3 miles from Tel Aviv. You could see it from our hotel, and we decided to just walk there.

There’s a beach walk that connects Tel Aviv to Jaffa, so you couldn’t ask for a more pleasant walk…..well, unless it had been a shaded beach walk, but that’s a rare find indeed.

So off we went, down the beach to see Old Jaffa. Jaffa is where Jonah went to run from the Lord, sailing to Tarshish. Jaffa was also the home of the famous Simon the Tanner. I’ll tell you more about ol’ Simon in a minute here.

port of Jaffa

The port of Jaffa was also where Solomon shipped in the cedars of Lebanon, and after World War II, this port was where vast numbers of Jews arrived to return to the Promised Land.

It’s one of the most historic cities there is! And, according to archaeologists, Jaffa has been constantly inhabited since about 1900 BC, and perhaps even longer. (source 1)

view of Jaffa from the beach, by the port

This area is currently run by Arab Christians, according to locals, but just like the rest of Israel, it has fallen under many different countries’ rule over the year, to include the Turks.

Yafo/Jaffa is diverse.

I definitely saw more Muslim people in Yafo than I did in Tel Aviv.

There were loud prayer calls and women in full Islamic garb. That was the first time I had ever been walking around and suddenly heard the loud sounds of the Muslim call to prayer.

These are sounds my husband is extremely accustomed to, considering all of his time in the Middle East, but it was a new experience for me!

This plaque is on one of the Old Jaffa buildings.

Armenian Convent of St. Nicholas

I thought these blue doors and vents looked pretty against the sand color bricks.

 

More of these beautiful plants. Is it bougainvillea? Please let me know in the comments if you know what this plant is called! I loved it.

You go up these stairs, and you are suddenly in an extremely unique, ancient place. Even the ground is brick. If you ever go to Israel, be sure to see Old Jaffa!

This is the way to Simon the Tanner’s house! Up the stairs into Old Jaffa, and then keep turning corners and getting lost until you stumble upon it. Follow the light house.

 

view of Old Jaffa

We glanced at the map the first time around, not knowing what to look for.

After walking through Old Jaffa and not finding Simon the Tanner’s house, we decided to try again. The SECOND time around, we studied the map as hard as our eyeballs could stare, and then made another go of it.

beautiful Jaffa

It felt Medieval-ish to me. I don’t know how old it was. We missed the guided tour, so we were on our own.

 

Searching, searching, where is that Simon the Tanner’s house???

I bet Cornelius’s messenger in the Bible didn’t have this much trouble finding it…

By the 2nd time around, we knew if we could just find THIS lighthouse, we could find ol’ Simon’s house.

We got in a ton of steps and stair-climbs that day.

So all of a sudden, when we least expected it, we realized we were standing right in front of it!!! Ha!

Simon the Tanner’s house!

Want to know who Simon the Tanner is?

Well, after Jesus died and rose again and ascended to Heaven, the disciples kept up their work.

They were still going around teaching and preaching the good news of Jesus: Jesus died to pay the price for our sin. No need to make animal sacrifices. Instead of a Messiah to come, we now have faith in a Messiah that IS.

However, the disciples were only teaching this method to Jewish people, not Gentiles.

It was time for a change.

First of all, Peter was staying at the home of a tanner. That was considered an unclean trade (source 2), which fits this story perfectly.

As a Jew, there were many foods that were unclean, and Gentiles were unclean. Therefore, when Peter had a vision of a blanket of unclean food, with God telling him to eat it, he was perplexed.

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour[b] to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth.

 

 

 

12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.   Acts 10:9-16

While Peter was still pondering the dream, a man came to fetch him to come tell Cornelius, a Gentile, who loved God, about Jesus, in the town of Caesesarea.

By the way, Israelites do NOT pronounce Caesarea the same way we do. Over there the C makes the k sound in that word, so it was confusing!

So Peter went to Cornelius’s house in Caesarea, and this is a snippet of what the Bible says about the meaning of the dream he’d had at Simon the Tanner’s house:

Tour of Jaffa in Pictures

 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”    Acts 10: 28-29

That’s when Peter learns that Cornelius worships the Lord, along with his family, and God has sent Peter to tell this man and his family the gospel:

30 And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour,[d] and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.

 

 

32 Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”     Acts 10:30-33

For the full story, read Acts 10.

Ok. Now that we’ve had our one Bible lesson, let’s see a few more photos to round out the visit.

A tomb, maybe?

This used to be a government building. Only this front remains. The back was bombed out by one of their wars.

another view of the bombed out government building

whale fountain in Old Jaffa—perfect for the Jonah and the whale story

just an interesting building in the more modern part of the city

a church

I just liked the architecture.

Old Jaffa (beyond the parking lot)

view of Yafo

Jaffa

We found this at the port. I had never heard this story. Have you?

Hope you enjoyed the tour!! Want to see more? Here are a few more of my previous Israel tours:

Jerusalem: Mount of Olives and the Last Supper

Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa

Where Christ was Crucified

Tel Aviv 

Modern Tel Aviv

 

 

Sources:

  1.  The Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project website, Historical Overview, jaffa.nelc.ucla.edu/site.html#overview
  2. Acts 9:3 Peter and Simon the Tanner, readingacts.com,
  3. Acts 10, Bible Gateway Online, English Standard Version

 

Photo Tour of Ein Karem, John the Baptist’s Birthplace

photo tour of John the Baptists's birth place

Prophecy of Zechariah after the birth of John the Baptist, found in Luke 1: 68-75. It’s displayed in 24 languages at St. John’s Church.

By the time we made it to Ein Karem, it was after a long day of exploring Old Jerusalem, so I hope you’re good with short explanations. I was quickly losing brain battery power at this point.

 

Photo Tour of Ein Karem, John the Baptist's Birthplace

Church of St. John the Baptist in Ein Karem.

This church marks the spot where experts believe John the Baptist was born. It is also near the Church of the Visitation, where Mary visited Elisabeth. I thought we visited both churches, but I could only find photos for the church of St. John.

Not sure who John the Baptist is?

He’s the “voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”

In the Bible, the Old Testament teaches that before Messiah comes to reconcile man to God, a prophet will go before him. John the Baptist was the prophet to go before Jesus, proclaiming forgiveness of sins, by faith in God’s salvation because the Messiah has paid the price for our transgressions.

 

tile wall of St. John Ba-Harim 

This is THE cave of the birth.

After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”   Luke 1:24-25

 

We saw many beautiful churches in Israel.

Part of Zechariah’s Prophecy:

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”    Luke 1: 76-79

 

The proper name of the this church is “St. John Ba Harim Church”.

 

I always say that art tells the story best. These 3 carvings tell the story of the birth of John the Baptist. This one is the first of 3. The other 2 are pictured towards the end of this post.

 

photo tour of John the Baptists's birth place

What I actually remember best from Ein Karem was the beautiful location. 

I wanted to just stand and breathe it in and take photos, so I did. The group had to wait for me for a few minutes, but no one complained.

Ein Karem means “spring of the vineyard.” The spring is a big deal because obviously Mary drank from it when she visited Elisabeth.

 

This is at Mary’s Spring. It’s under that arch there, but it was crowded and we were tired….ha! So this is the best we can do today.

 

beautiful Ein Karem

Ein Karem

Ein Karem

Because the Turks and Arabs conquered this land and dwelled in it for so long, there are mosques, both in use and out of use, everywhere.

 

Photo Tour of Ein Karem, John the Baptist's Birthplace

St. John Ba-Harim Church

St. John Ba Harim Church

Once we finished looking around Ein Karem, we packed up into our bus and drove back to the hotel in Tel Aviv.

saying good-bye to our fabulous tour guide

 

I hope you are enjoying the Israel series. We have so much more to share!

Here are the links to the previous Israel posts:

Mount of Olives and the Upper Room

Jerusalem Part 2: Where Jesus was Crucified

Jerusalem Part 3: The Via Dolorosa

The Western Wall

Bethlehem Wall

No, I Couldn’t Possibly go to Israel this week

 

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