The Basilica of Annunciation in Nazareth|Roman-Catholic church in Galilee region
The Church of the Annunciation is one of the largest Catholic churches in the world and is considered the biggest in the Middle East. According to tradition, it is built over the house of Virgin Mary where the angel Gabriel revealed to her and informed her that she was pregnant with the Holy Spirit and her son would redeem mankind. This history appears only in an evangelist, Lucas (1:26-38). At the moment of the Gospel came the incarnation, which, according to spiritual divinity, became human in Mary's womb. So, God incarnated himself in the flesh of man to be freed from the original sin of Adam and Eve and to atone for it by his suffering.
Above the front door of the church you can see sculptures in the figures of the four evangelists of the Gospels: Matthew, Marcus, Luke, John and Luke and the famous sentence from chapter of John (1:14 ): “And the word became flesh”. Above them stands a large statue of Jesus. On the south front stands a statue of Mary. Furthermore, when you enter the lower gate of the church and turn right, you pass the walls with paintings of Mary given from different countries in the world. You can find Mary here in African, Japanese, Chilean style and more. The south facade is completely dedicated to Mary and you can see reliefs linked to Mary as a commitment and her event of ascending to heaven. On the wall we find the words of a prayer dedicated to Mary called "Salva Regina".
The central façade of the church is on the west side and is devoted to Jesus and Mary. Many symbolic details can be seen like the Greek alpha and the omega letter symbolizing Jesus being the beginning and the end. The symbol for the Franciscan order and the Jerusalem cross.
Address Al Bishara 12 st. Nazareth
Christian order: Roman Catholic, Franciscan.
Build date: 1955-1969.
Since the Byzantine period, churches have begun to be built in Nazareth and the place where Mary lived was identified according to tradition. The church has undergone numerous periods of destruction and construction. First by the Persian conquest in 614, then by the Islamic conquest in the 7th century and later in the 13th century. It was not until the 20th century, with the coming of power to Israel, that it was extended and rebuilt until its demolition and construction in 1955. The church was built for 14 years, according to the design of the Italian architect Giovanni Mutzio and inaugurated in 1969.
To preserve both the new and the old in the church, it was decided to split it into two floors. At the bottom is a former cave with archaeological remains from previous churches. This part is dark and intimate and brings together small groups for prayer. The top floor is used for large events, this floor is light and characterized by colorful and impressive paintings. You can see wide and colored mosaics that are a gift from different countries. The top of the dome rises to a height of 59 meters and a diameter of 17.8 meters When you look up you can see the symbol of a flower that characterizes the Virgin Mary in Christian art. The architectural style of the site is Italian brutalism characterized by exposed concrete moldings.
|Bus lines||You can take bus number 826 from Tel-Aviv, bus Number 955 from Jerusalem and bus number 331 from Haifa.|
|Car||The traffic is heavy in Nazareth. Write “Annunciation church” and look for parking in nearby streets, like Iksal Street. If you are staying in a nearby hotel better to walk by foot.|
Accessibility: There is no parking available, but you can stop a car at the entrance to the upper story of the church. There are two staircases in the church entrance, request a ramp. The first door is harder to access.
Telephone No: 972-4-6572501.
Opening times: Daily from 08:00 to 17:00.
WC- available apart from the second floor, payment required. Suitable for wheel chairs.
Nearby site activities
Few churches can be reached on foot: Joseph Church, Synagogue Church, Mensa Christi Church and Gabriel Church.
Site explaining My experience
The church is huge and has a lot of detail. You can spend 30 minutes up to 1.5 hours or even longer. If you are lucky, you will see a Catholic mass ceremony and you will hear the big echo of this place. Do not skip from the south part linked to Mary and check if you can find Mary picture of your country.