Discover Church of Visitation in Ein Karem village, Jerusalem
The Church of the Visitation symbolizes the place where Mary visited her cousin Elisheba (Elisabeth). Mary visits her in her summer house.
During the visit, both of them were pregnant, Mary with Jesus and Elisabeth with John. Elisabeth greeted Mary, and her baby (Christ) danced in her womb. This meeting is described in Luke's book (Luke 1:39-45):
At this time Mary prepared herself and hurried to the town in the mountainous region of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy spirit, in a loud voice she exclaimed: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! , As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy, blessed who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
The church began as a Byzantine church (IV A.D.), and later as a Crusader church (early 12th century). The place was bought by the Franciscan order in 1679, but was renovated only after receiving the approval of the Ottomans in the 1960s of the 19th century. The new church, which was completed in 1955, was designed by the Italian Franciscan architect Antonio Barluzzi who designed famous churches such as the Dominos Flevit Church and the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. The great wall paintings of the church were painted by the Italian artist who collaborated with the Jewish-Israeli painter Mordechai Ardon.
On the doorway of the church there are bronze statues of Zacharias and Elisabeth. At the entrance to the courtyard another statue depicting the meeting of Elizabeth and Mary with a pregnant belly. The rumor is that touching the statues in the stomach helps with fertility.
Tradition has it that Mary's prayer of grace is in the name of the Magnificat. And you can see on the wall of the court 47 ceramic tablets which carry prayer in different languages. Mary prayer known as the Magnificat prayer and mentioned in Luke(1:45-56):
“My soul glorified the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior,
For he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
For the Mighty One has done a great think for me- holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
From generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with this arm;
He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”
Tradition has it that Mary's prayer of grace is in the name of the Magnificat. And you can see on the wall of the court 47 ceramic tablets which carry prayer in different languages.
The Church Crypt
Built around the "crypt" which, according to Christian tradition is the cave which opened and hid Elisheva and her son John from the soldiers of Herod. The floor of the church is decorated with a carpet-like mosaic and the ceiling is decorated with paintings of vines so that visitors feel like they are sitting in a "sukkah".
The Upper Basilica
The church holds an upper basilica dedicated to Mary.
On the wall are paintings with different events of Mary's life. You can see a scene of Ephesus in the 14th century, when Mary was proclaimed as the mother of God.
A painting on the left depicts the first miracle scene in Kfar Cana turning the water into wine.
The picture in the central apse represents Mary receiving the realm of heaven.
On the windows are represented women of the Bible and the New Testament.
Among them were Sarah and Rachael, Yael and Yehudit.
Name of the church Church of the Visitation at Ein Karem.
Address, EIN Karem Village
Christian Franciscan Catholic Order.
Construction year is 1955.
|Bus lines||Bus number 28 from Jerusalem bus station or Mount Herzel.|
|Car||Write in the waze “Ein-Karem parking” and you will be headed directly to the free parking lot on Ein karem which is only 10 minutes walk to the church.|
The church on the first floor is accessible but the higher basilica is not accessible.
You can drive the car to the top of the hill to the church if needed but parking space is upon availability, maybe it is better only for drop offs and pickups.
Daily 08:00-18:00. The upper church is closed from 11:45am to 2:30pm.
Entrance is free of charge.
Phone number +972-(0)2-6147291
Toilet is available.
Nearby site activities
St. john is not far away. Be sure to stroll through the beautiful alleyways of the village of Ein-Karem, and ask for the local ice cream and chocolate shop!
Site explaining My experience
The church located a few kilometers from Jerusalem, on top of the Ein-Karem mountain. It is surrounded by a lovely view and walking to the church while climbing the mountain will make you feel excited.
Downstairs are the remains of an ancient cistern in which, according to tradition, John the Baptist hid from Herod and on the second floor are the remains of a Crusader church. Beside the church there is a convent of the Rosary Sisters with an orphanage. Do not forget to visit the nearby Mary’s well. According to the tradition they met there before walking to Elizabeth house.