A few miles south of Jerusalem lies the city of Bethlehem. It’s the little town where Jesus Christ was born. A major attraction is the Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest churches worldwide, built over the cave where Jesus was born. The adjoining Church of St. Catherine possesses marvelous wood carvings of the Stations of the Cross. Just a few minutes walk, Chapel of the Milk Grotto, where the holy family took refuge on their way to Egypt and where Mary fed the infant Jesus. Another known attraction is the Shepherds’ Fields, located in the Bethlehem suburb of Beit Sahour the site of the angel’s visitation to the shepherds.
Visit the village of Al Khader beside Bethlehem to see the Monastery of St George. The monastery is said to hold relics from the saint that possess healing powers-especially for mental illness. The monastery was used in the 19th century as a psychiatric facility to treat mental illness by using St George’s relics.
Monastery of Mar Saba, located 15 km from Bethlehem, a beautiful monastery clinging to the cliff face of the Kidron Valley, in the midst of a desert landscape. The Monastery is named after Saint Saba who settled in a cave in complete seclusion that lasted some 5 years. The body of Saint Saba can be seen in the principle church while his tomb is paved in the courtyard outside. Women have never been allowed to enter; however, women can enjoy a glimpse of the chapel and building from a nearby place.