Church of the Nativity
Church of the Nativity
4.5
About
To view top of the Nativity church we recommend you visit and do your shopping only at the Blessings gift shop and The olive wood factory just 2 minutes walk next door to milk grotto church.Destroyed and rebuilt in the 6th century and renovated in the 11th century by the crusaders, this is the oldest Church in the Holy Land that is still in use.Built over the Grotto of the Nativity by Constantine in 325 A.D.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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  • Busylady21
    West Allis, Wisconsin163 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    We sang by the site of Jesus birth.
    Try to go during a less busy time. We were told that sometimes there is a four hour wait to get in. We visited in the late afternoon. Remember to have something to cover knees and shoulders as most churches require modesty. The steps are steep and without rails, but manageable for most. The experience is a must do for any "Holy Land" tour.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 20 July 2023
  • Jeffry b
    Essendon, Australia13,448 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Where the story of Jesus begins
    The Church of the Nativity is where, according to tradition, the story of Jesus, Mary and Joseph begins. It's said to be the birthplace of Jesus. The Church of the Nativity is quite spectacular; there is always a crowd, so expect to wait an hour or so to see the birthplace of Jesus. The Church of Nativity is in Manger Square, in Bethlehem, which is in the Palestinian Territories. By the way, you can get a good lunch, it's a tad disorganized, but it works.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 28 October 2023
  • Jeffry b
    Essendon, Australia13,448 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The place where Jesus was born
    The Church of the Nativity is said to be the place where Jesus was born. "Nativity" means "Jesus' place of birth." The Church is in Bethlehem, on the West Bank. The Church of the Nativity is often crowded by Christian pilgrims; it is often time-consuming to enter the Church. Most Christians agree the pilgrimage to the Church of the Nativity is worthwhile. The interior decoration of the Church of the Nativity is enthralling. Nearby ion Nativity Square is a well-patronized restaurant that serves enjoyable Middle Eastern-style cuisine.
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled with friends
    Written 26 February 2024
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mangosalad1
Orange County, CA57 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Family
First please let me say you can save a ton of money by coming here by yourselves without a tour guide. We were on a budget and saw everything pretty well. We brought our late 60s parents here by bus & cab. From the Damascus gate in Jerusalem took bus # 231 (you head to Damascus Gate) where you see all the buses parked & look at the signs above, with numbers, where the buses are parked. We paid NIS 7 per person. Yes that is 7 Shekels pp. It was a nice and comfortable 40-50 minute ride. Then got off in Bethlehem where everyone got off. As soon as you get off you will be approached by VERY aggressive salespeople/taxi drivers. They will offer to take you everywhere for a certain price depending on how you look, I think. Don't get a cab to the church there. Walk a few blocks to a store (go up the hill when you get off the bus) and get one there, it will be much, much cheaper. The walk is too far & too uphill for an elderly person, so we got a cab near the Church for 20 Shekels for 4 of us (but we were pretty close already) because parents couldn't handle too much uphill walking. Went inside the church for FREE. You don't need to pay a "tour guide" standing outside. Everyone has to stand in line the same way. It's not true that you can "skip" the line with a "guide." We saw everyone in line even with a guide. Maybe your guide will stand in your place while you sit or do something else, but we didn't see anyone "skipping" the line and there were no "express" lines either. We waited about 2 hours in line because we got there around 10am. Then, you get in, go down a few steps inside the "grotto." It was a surreal experience to be where Jesus is believed to have been born. Very beautiful once inside the church. Once outside the church, we ate at a great restaurant and walked around Bethlehem. Then headed back to the bus stop on a cab (paid 30 shekels to have him take us to bus stop) to return to Jerusalem on bus #231 same way. It was all together an awesome experience.
Written 11 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jay B
Fairhope, AL1,029 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
This gorgeous old church sits atop the birthplace of Christ. It's significance to Christians and others is beyond comprehension. The structure has undergone many changes through the centuries but the original "holy place" feel has been maintained. Once inside, there will likely be a VERY long line to see the actual birth grotto, probably around a 2 hour wait, so plan accordingly. There are actually several churches under the one roof that meet and have regular services. We really enjoyed the Catholic church, which is located through a separate doorway into a beautiful garden area. Also note that you actually leave Israel to visit Bethlehem, as it is located in Palestine. There were no issues crossing the border while we were there, but it might be a good idea to check ahead just to make sure.
Written 16 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kim G
Pacific Grove, CA3,757 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
This was my second visit to the Church of the Nativity. On my initial visit, I toured with a large group, and encountered long lines and waiting for a brief glimpse and touch of the protected stone where Jesus was born, along with His manger stone in the Grotto of the Nativity. This second journey was an entirely different experience, as my adult son and I booked a private tour to this Holy site during mid December, when crowds are considerably smaller. Arriving just prior to a processional mass, we were permitted to remain on the stairs in the grotto below the Basilica, and observe the moving, spiritual experience which included a grouping of priests and nuns, bearing burning incense, while singing praises of worship on this hallowed ground. We joined the procession as it moved on, and were led further into the bowels of the grotto into another chapel, where additional worship occurred. What an amazing experience! This UNESCO World Heritage Site received a small relic piece of the original Manger in 2019, which is now on view in the Church of the Nativity. The interior of the Basilica has numerous ancient mosaics and brass lanterns and is an essential piece of the Christian pilgrimage.
Written 15 November 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GreenThumb331
San Fernando, Philippines2,873 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019
The Church of the Nativity is named for the grotto it was built around. The Grotto of the Nativity, where Jesus is said to have been born, is an underground cave in the crypt of the Church of the Nativity underneath the main altar. The basilica is also the oldest major church in Israel. Once inside the grotto tourist/pilgrims line up to touch a 14-pointed silver star on the Altar of Nativity and have their photo taken. The silver star in the floor marks the very spot where Christ is believed to have been born. The floor is paved in marble, and 15 lamps hang above the star.

Needless to say, the grotto is the most sought-after site in Bethlehem. There was a long line wanting to enter. We were fortunate to have a private tour guide with an express pass.
Written 3 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TravelDonCA
Tehachapi, CA212 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2019
This is a church built over the traditional site of the birth of Jesus. It is the oldest major church in the Holy Land area. It has been rebuilt over the years several times. It is another spectacular building. Don’t miss the glass floor in the basilica which allows visitors to view some of the original tile work. The actual church area is very pretty. We could not enter the Grotto of the Nativity when we were there since a service was taking place.
Written 25 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wood77
Los Angeles, CA3,287 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
We were exceedingly fortunate to have an opportunity to visit this site on 3/3/2020 before Covid-19 virus contagion exploded worldwide and tourism got shut down. We have the opportunity to go into the Church of Nativity, the grotto where Jesus was born and the manger nearby. We heard the next day after our visit, Israel closed down for foreign tourists because of Covid-19. The church, originally built around 300 AD, is now owned by three churches; Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, and Roman Catholic. Greek Orthodox owned most of it as seen with the furnishings and embellishments. Just to be in there and be able to touch the spot where Jesus was born was a profound experience.
Written 17 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

FredPurdue
Seattle, WA2,268 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
We came as pilgrims and amateur photographers to the Church and both were positive experiences. My focus here is on tips for taking pictures. First, be respectful, for it is a holy site for Christians. Second, travel lightly because it will be crowded in some locations and you may stand in lines for an extended period of time. Forget the tripod. A DSLR with a zoom lens works well, and you will definitely use the wide-angle. Third, lighting varies widely, so having high ISOs is helpful. You may also want to vary white balance. Fourth, while standing in line, look around. There are interesting subjects everywhere. Fifth, going to the Grotto is a one-way trip, so be sure to take your pictures as you proceed through it. There are no turn-arounds.
Written 19 May 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ronnie P
Monterey, Tennessee55 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
One of my favorite places to be is the beautiful city of Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity in particular. The church is absolutely beautiful and the experience one has in the grotto touching the 14 point Star marking the location where the Christ child was born is the ultimate joy as it marks the birth of our very salvation. Also the caves below and the Tomb of the Innocents, Church of St Catherine, Milk Grotto, Tomb of St Jerome and so much more at this location. You will never forget! The Christmas Carols will be sang with a feel and a joy one never knows who has not been here!
Written 13 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sharon B
Washington DC, DC30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Couples
People from all over the world and can become crowded. You have a few short minutes to pray, see the birth place and nearby manger. They have to keep the crowd moving due to volume. If there are special visitors, like foreign priests, dignitaries, you'll have to wait up to 1 hr. Happens fairly often. Church has beautiful artifacts. Some things are newer but worth being there.
Written 16 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

catesoo
Singapore123 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Family
I'm writing this from a secular viewpoint. My family and I visited this on Armenian Christmas Day so we had to deal with a larger than usual crowd. The queue going into the nativity cave from the Armenian side was terribly long and the Armenian priests were shouting rudely at the crowd. Certainly didn't leave a good impression on me. We finally got to the nativity cave from the Catholic side.

This is a very meaningful visit if you're on a pilgrimage but on a secular trip, I thought the wall and it's graffiti near the entrance of Bethlehem was more interesting.
Written 10 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

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