From its humble origins as a watering stop south of Jerusalem in the time of King Herod, Bethlehem found its importance to the world as the birthplace of Jesus, Prince of Peace, over two thousand years ago.

The Christian heritage of Bethlehem is more than a living memory but a fact of life in this vibrant district of the southern West Bank, which receives more than a million visitors to its fortress-like Nativity Church each year, with the nearby Shepherd’s Field, Milk Grotto, Mar Theodosios and Mar Sabba also being critical components of any visit.

Efforts to bolster the tourism industry with a new museum and a revitalized Peace Center are underway, while many visitors just prefer to walk the well-kept streets of the Old Cities of Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour to admire the stately homes built by the master stone workers throughout the centuries.

Bethlehem Checklist

  • Walk Star Street to Nativity Church
  • Tour the Herodian
  • Visit both Shepherd’s Fields in Beit Sahour
  • Take a swim at the Intercontinental Hotel
  • Stargaze from Beit Jala’s ridge
  • Try on some traditional Palestinian costumes at the Maha Saca Center
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