Bethlehem to Jerusalem

Bethlehem to Jerusalem

Bethlehem is a city in Area A of Palestine and the city where Jesus Christ was born.  Bethlehem offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;

  • Church of nativity (birthplace of Jesus Christ)
  • Milk grotto
  • Old city
  • Shepherd’s Fields
  • Herodium
  • Mar Saba Monastery
  • Al Khader Village
  • Cremisan
  • Banksy Art
  • Various museums

As there are quite a number of activities and points of interest in Bethlehem, you may consider staying overnight.  If you are missing home you can sample the Bethlehem KFC, maybe the chicken is holy.

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

The Church of the Nativity is a UNESCO world heritage site and famous for being built on top of the birthplace of Jesus.  The grotto in which Christ was born is easily accessible from inside the Church of Nativity.  The church was originally built in 339 under guidance of Constantine the Great.  It was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 565.  The church at the present day is still incomplete and undergoing serious renovations.  To get into the church you have to pass through an incredibly small door.

Birthplace of Jesus, Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Birthplace of Jesus, Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Inside the grotto under the Church of Nativity you’ll find the exact spot where Jesus Christ was born.  It’s amazing how over 2000 years ago someone was forward thinking enough to mark the exact spot of the birthplace of Christ.  Now we are all benefiting from his forward thinking as we can go pray at this spot, now marked with a star.

Separation Wall, West Bank

Separation Wall, West Bank

Due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine a separation wall has been constructed separating the 2 countries.  Currently the wall is 440 km in length and when completed it will be around 700 km long.  The construction of the separation wall has been very controversial but statistics prove that since the construction less Israelis have been victims of Palestinian attacks.

Banksy Art

Banksy Art

Along the wall on the Palestinian side you’ll see a lot of graffiti.  The famous British graffiti artist Banksy has some famous artwork on the separation wall and around Bethlehem.  You’ll find gift shops selling copies and reprints of his art on mugs, postcards and anything you can imagine.  Banksy is so famous that a movie called Exit Through the Gift Shop was made about him and even nominated for an Oscar.

Herodium, Bethlehem

Herodium, Bethlehem

5 km from the center of Bethlehem is a cone shaped hill (paradise hill) with a palace fortress on top.  This was a palace and small town called Herodium which was ordered to be built by Herod the Great.  Herodium was built between 23 and 15BC before being destroyed by the Romans in 71 AD.  Herod the great was buried here, on a visit you’ll pass his tomb and mausoleum.  The views of Bethlehem and the surrounding landscapes from Herodium are beautiful.

Chapel of the Milk Grotto, Bethlehem

Chapel of the Milk Grotto, Bethlehem

The Milk Grotto is a chapel in Bethlehem.  It’s symbolic because it’s believed the Milk Grotto is where the holy family were hiding when Herod ordered the massacre of the innocents.  He attempted to kill all boys 2 years and under in order to kill Jesus Christ.  There is a movie from 1994 about this called Slaughter of the Innocents.  There is a story that a drop of milk dropped from Mary onto the floor turning the building white which is where the name Milk Grotto came from.

Another chapel in Bethlehem is the chapel of the shepherds fields.  At this location an angel announced the birth of Christ the first celebrations were here.

Bus from Bethlehem to Jerusalem

Bus from Bethlehem to Jerusalem

From Bethlehem I took a bus to Jerusalem, although the cities are next to each other you have to drive around the wall which makes the journey longer.  It’s possible that passing the wall your documents will be checked and you’ll face a delay.  If not then you should be in Jerusalem in about an hour and a half.

Jerusalem to Tel Aviv

2017-02-10T20:16:21+00:00 February 9th, 2017|Israel, Middle East|24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Hendrik February 11, 2017 at 9:38 am - Reply

    I am sure, this is a totally amazing trip, not only to see the beauty of this region, but also this ancient spirit…When you stand in the ruins of Herodium, Bethlehem and try to imagine what happened there thousands of years ago… that’s great!
    The separation wall makes me as someone who grew up in East Germany sad – seems like there will be always walls in this world. But nevertheless cool and informativ post 🙂

  2. Mel I TravelingMel February 11, 2017 at 10:01 am - Reply

    I think I would skip the Bethlehem KFC ;), but the rest of it looks amazing! The Church of Nativity looks beautiful. Can they really know where Jesus was born? Either way, it makes for a lovely pilgrimage. And it seems important to witness the wall. Thanks for laying it all out so well.

  3. Soraya February 12, 2017 at 1:40 am - Reply

    I would LOVE to visit Bethlehem one day, and it sounds like there is a fair bit to do. I am not sure about the holy chicken at the local KFC…but I think it would be so fascinating to sample the local eats here. What an amazing feeling it is to be standing in amongst history… ancient history! To me is it sad that a wall has had to be constructed to keep civilians safe. 🙁 I am fascinated though that you see works of street art on the walls, including Banksy.

  4. Sonia February 12, 2017 at 1:42 am - Reply

    There is so much history to explore here. I would love to visit the birthplace of Christ… it’s on my bucketlist! I am a vegetarian so would skip the chicken for sure!

  5. Vicki Louise February 12, 2017 at 5:28 am - Reply

    What an incredible journey! It must be incredible to stand in a place so full of ancient history – and to see that combined with modern street art from the likes of Banksy would be such a great contrast.

  6. Arzo Travels February 12, 2017 at 7:11 am - Reply

    A place full of history…a pity that a wall is needed and it divides two countries (for me there are two countries). I would love to visit and see the exact spot where Christ was born and the graffi!

  7. Global Girl Travels February 13, 2017 at 4:11 am - Reply

    I’ve always tried to seek after the UNESCO sites – cultural travel is definitely something that I seek out. You’re so lucky to have been to this UNESCO site. The Baptism site is also a newly added UNESCO site, so I’ve added that one to the bucket list as well. Great job again at capturing the beautiful sights of the places you’ve managed to visit!

  8. Lauren West February 13, 2017 at 6:02 am - Reply

    The Church of the Nativity is a place I’ve always dreamed of going, and your photographs capture it so wonderfully. It’s great to get a little bit of the historical merits of the site! I gotta say, I do love that Banksy as well!

  9. Suma Jain February 13, 2017 at 8:21 am - Reply

    Wow, so many interesting facts related to Jesus’s birth and places connected to it. Visiting a place like Jerusalem that is filled with ancient history and holds so much significance must have been an incredible experience. Your itinerary seems to be covering all the major spots that is a must visit in Bethlehem, as I am a huge heritage site fan I’m going to add this to my bucketlist. The wall, Church of Nativity and Milk Grotto is something I wouldn’t want to miss at any cost when I do visit.

  10. Pete February 21, 2017 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Objective scholarship finds that the chance of Jesus being born anywhere other than Nazareth is slim, and that there is no other record of the unlikely census and massacre of infants.

    These legends emerged long after the death of Jesus as an attempt to make his story tie in with Jewish messianic prophecies. The sites we see today have more in common with tourism than actual Christianity. Doubtless ancient and mediaeval pilgrims were charged entrance fees and left through the gift shop before finding that there was, in fact, plenty of room at the nearby inns.

    • James Smith February 25, 2017 at 10:26 am - Reply

      Some great points there Pete, probably true as well.

  11. Christopher James February 25, 2017 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    I’ll be heading to Jerusalem next month, so this is great! Thanks!

  12. Tiana February 27, 2017 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    I love the story and your photos. Especially the first few with the wide angle lens!

  13. Rob Taylor February 27, 2017 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    I had never heard of the Milk Grotto until now. An unlikely story, but fascinating just the same. Is it the most surreal experience traveling through the Holy Land or is is just like any other historic place you might visit? I’m always so curious of peoples’ perception following a trip through.

  14. Daniel February 28, 2017 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    The photos are amazing.

  15. Suzanne July 31, 2017 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    Jerusalem remains on my bucket list. Is it safe to travel there now? I’m also intrigued by the notion that Banksy has art in the holy city. How was that allowed? Is he secretly Israeli? Who knows?

  16. Delaine Dcosta July 31, 2017 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    Lol, you had me at “holy chicken” in Bethlehem KFC! 😀 Reading your post felt like as though you brought the Bible to life. I’ve always wanted to visit Bethlehem, however, it isnt very easy for me to go there from the UAE. It would be great to see where Jesus was born … with my own eyes. Love the pictures & hopefully, I’ll get to go there someday.

  17. Lydia Smith July 31, 2017 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    Pilgrimage plus exploration equals absolute FUN. I like the legends behind each of the sites to see. I’ve only heard of these stories, visiting in person would make me feel like I’m experiencing history

  18. Courtney CJ July 31, 2017 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    I’ve been seeing so many commercials highlighting Tel Aviv as the next hot travel destination lately. It would certainly be the trip of a lifetime if I was able to visit Bethlehem and Jerusalem. It’s insane how because of the wall it will take you up to an hour but it would remind me of Houston traffic, which can be downright horrible.

  19. Mariella July 31, 2017 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    So amazing that you got to see the place Jesus was born!! This is definitely something I would like to visit someday. Such fascinating history and so much to learn! Interesting read, Thank you. – Mariella

  20. Abigail Sinsona July 31, 2017 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    James, you are so lucky you’ve seen so many great sites. Bethlehem is one of my bucket list items too. To see the place that Christ was born and grew up in must be so moving. I also heard that the baptism site of Christ was recently added to the UNESCO list so that is one more reason to go!

  21. Nicole Anderson August 1, 2017 at 12:31 am - Reply

    This is a fantastic article, and makes me want to visit the region. The birthplace of Jesus has now become a place that I really want to see. I hope that one day the “Separation Wall’ will be torn down.and people can live together harmoniously.

  22. My Travelogue by Bhushavali August 1, 2017 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Both Jordan and Israel is much in my wishlist! The countries have way too much to offer in terms of heritage and nature as well! The Church of Nativity would be such a delight to be there and feel it! The graffiti of the peace dove wearing a bulletproof jacket is just so painful!!!

  23. Tania Mukherjee August 2, 2017 at 4:28 am - Reply

    Interesting to know there is a wall separating Israel and Palestine. Your article just gave me a suitable list of movie suggestions which I will definitely watch in the coming days. It must be absolutely spellbinding for you to come face-to-face with the exact spot of Jesus Christ’s birth.

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