If you go to Nazareth, it's worth visiting nearby Zippori National Park. Douglas E. Duckett is an American tourist who has visited these two important historical sites. Although he's not employed in the travel industry, his knowledge and passion for the country has led him to write his own guide for tourists to Israel. Here are some of his travel tips.
This is, of course, the city where Jesus grew up, and as such, is important to Christians. There are a number of major sites there, and the most spectacular is the Church of the Annunciation, a modern Catholic church in the center of the city. Its dome is the dominant feature of the Nazareth skyline.
Don’t miss the mosaics in the church depicting the Madonna and child, each donated by the Catholics of that nation. My favorite is Japan’s, which incorporates diamonds into the design! Behind the church is the Terra Santa College, a very fine Roman Catholic private school at which I met three wonderful 12-year-olds on my first trip in 1988 who became friends and “pen pals” for years.
Other sites include the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, which also contains “Mary’s Well,” an ancient spring which probably did once serve Jesus’ family in what was then a tiny, backwater hamlet.
Just a few kilometers outside of Nazareth stood the major First Century city of Zippori, or Sephoris in Greek. Sephoris was the big city in Jesus’ day, and since it was constructed during his lifetime, it is virtually certain that he and Joseph, who were carpenters or day laborers, would have worked here. There was also a major Jewish revolt in Sephoris during his young lifetime, which was brutally crushed by the Romans. It is interesting to speculate on what effect that had on his views of the ruling class and how they exploited and crushed the poor. But the city struck a truce with the Romans in the Great Revolt of 66-70 CE and thus survived. The ruins contain some of the most spectacular mosaics in all of Israel, including the famed “Mona Lisa of the Galilee” (above). It is an amazing site!
Excerpt from guide booklet Israel: A Personal Travel Guide by Douglas E. Duckett. Copyright - all rights reserved.
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Other Christian Sites in the area: