Bethlehem is located in the West Bank, Palestine. In order to get to Bethlehem you must go thru a checkpoint. Israeli’s need a special permit and special insurance to go over there. We were told to make sure to carry our passports. There are Palestinian’s that do work in Israel and depending on the checkpoint it can take 30 minutes to half a day to cross over.
As you get close to the checkpoint and after it you can’t miss the wall surrounding the West Bank. It runs thru Jerusalem for 125 miles. From our Israel guides point of view it has greatly decreased terrorism.
Our Palestine guide told us the graffiti on the walls is graffiti of peace.
There 14 different religious denominations in Bethlehem.
Bethlehem celebrates Christmas 3 times a year Dec 25, January 7 and January 19.
Church of the Nativity which holds the grotto where the birthplace of Jesus is. The oldest continuously used place of worship in Christianity is this grotto. The church is divided into 3 sections: Greek Orthodox, Armaninia, and Catholic.
The Grotto has a cave on the eastern niche said to be the place where Jesus was born, which contains the Altar of Nativity. The exact spot where Jesus was born is marked beneath this altar by a 14-pointed star.