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Bethlehem: Church of the Nativity

The Church of the Nativity is a basilica located in Bethlehem, Palestinian territories, and is considered to be the oldest continuously operating Christian church in the world.

The church was originally commissioned in 327 AD by Constantine and his mother Helena over the site that is still traditionally considered to be located over the cave that marks the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. The Church of the Nativity site's original basilica was completed in 339 AD and destroyed by fire during the Samaritan Revolts in the sixth century AD. A new basilica was built 565 AD by the Byzantine Empire, restoring the architectural tone of the original.

The site has had numerous additions since this second construction, including its prominent bell towers. Due to its cultural and geographical history, the site holds a prominent religious significance to those of both the Christian and Muslim faiths.

The site of the Church of the Nativity is a World Heritage Site, and was the first to be listed under Palestine by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The site is also on UNESCO's List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.

The church is administered jointly by Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic authorities. All three traditions maintain monastic communities on the site

The structure of the site. of the Church of the Nativity is a combination of two churches and a crypt beneath—the Grotto of the Nativity where tradition states that Jesus of Nazareth was born and a fourteen-point silver star, beneath the altar in the Grotto marks the traditional spot believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

filmmaker: CompulsiveTraveler

country: Israel

channel: arts & culture

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