Saturday, February 21, 2009


After spending the morning in the Galilee area, we took a cab to Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up. Before going, I somehow pictured that Nazareth would be a dusty, Africa-styel bustling town. Not so much. It is large, with modern buildings, lots of cars with pumping music, all sorts of stores and terrible traffic. None of this, of course, is depicted in my picture walking down one of the side streets:
While we were walking around, we saw this sign in front of a restaurant. Nothing inspires me to order a rack of lamb like seeing a cute little wooly lamb on a sign. eek.

In Nazareth, I found my new favorite church building in the world. The Church of the Annunciation, where the Catholics believe that Gabriel told Mary the reason she was pregnant (keep in mind that the Orthodox, Coptics, and many other denominations believe that this took place in different parts of the city and they all have their own cathedral or church commemorating it.) Here is a view of the church from above (everyone says it looks like a light house).

Here is a closer view of the outside:

And the inside. It has much more modern architecture than most of the churches I have seen in Israel.
However, the thing that makes this church my new favorite in the entire world is that it is a multi-cultural church. The creaters of the church petitioned countries all over the world to send in mosaic representations of Mary and Jesus. These mosaics are all over the inside of the church and all around the compound of the outside. This one is from Japan:

And of course, South Africa
Another view of the inside.
Looking up.

There is also amazing stained glass everywhere. In my next life (or maybe just after I finish grad school), I am going to be a mosaic-maker and stained glass maker. Mark my words.
Here is the place (on the bottom floor) where it is believed that the angel Gabriel talked to Mary.
Here is the outside of the church.

After walking around the compoud for quite a while, we wandered around the city for a bit and ran into the synagogue that stands in the place where it is believed that Jesus taught:

Before heading back to Tiberias, we hiked up the side of a mountain to view another church. (I forget which one). We were enjoying the view of the city and the outside of the church, when suddenly, we saw that the gates were closing (they are electronic). We went sprinting to them, and squeezed through JUST before they locked. It was all very Indiana Jones. However, three boys were not as lucky and they were locked in for a while until the guard came and let them out.


Victor said...

The study of Jesus' travels is quite interesting. It's as if everything fits in with his personality of humility (and yet confidence in identity)--the humble town of his birth (Nazareth), the humble area of most of his ministry (Galilee). Why was he not in Jerusalem much earlier? It's quite interesting. And I'm beginning to see why. He seems to really have been called to the least of these, though it may be hard to tell now.

Victor said...

The international Mary's are beautiful.