BETHLEHEM The Church of Nativity
Entering the Church of the Nativity from busy Manger Square is like entering a different world.
One is immediately struck by the atmosphere of timeless quality that permeates every corner of the vaulted basilica.
Simple in every aspect of its construction, it is as beautiful as it is sacred. At certain hours of the day the majestic pink limestone columns – each towering 6 meters – come to life when the sun, slanting through eleven high arched windows, seems to set them on fire.
Above these columns are the remains of 12th century mosaics that once decorated the church. On a gold background they portray the forebears of Yeshua (Jesus) and the first seven ecumenical councils.
Damaged through the years, most are only fragments of their originals, but the one portraying the Council of Constantinople of 680 has survived intact. It is a magnificent example of the art of its day.
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