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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Coffee and donkeys in Nazareth

Nazareth has churches and mosques side by side
After a week at a wonderful international school near Hertzliyya, we are now in Nazareth.
donkey in Nazareth
We are happy to be staying in the old parts of cities, which have a very authentic, and much different, feel from the 'modern' parts of cities. Here, no busses and motorbikes race by. It is quiet because there  is no traffic. The roads are alleys, just a few meters wide, if that. They are steep, often with steps. Here the alleys also have gutters for run-off, making it awkward to walk. When the market stalls are open, and goods spill out into the street, there is not enough room for all of the people making their way up and down the hilly town. Here, among the vegetable and fruit vendors, it is easy to imagine how Jesus walked these same narrow roads.

We followed our noses to the coffee and spice vendor, bought Turkish coffee in a small stall and walked to the Church of the Annunciation where, according to Christian belief, the angel Gabriel told Mary of her immaculate conception.
The skyline of Nazareth is filled with churches, mosques and minarets. We were surprised to learn that no Jews live in this Arab city, but make their home in nearby Nazareth Ilid.
We had fantastic fried pancakes filled with cottage cheese and pecans, and drenched in honey.

We bought bread and fruit for our upcoming long distance hike and did our laundry. The hotel in which we are staying is a fun, ancient inn. Our room has stone arches and feels like an old wine cellar... The courtyard is full of birds and plants, even a lemon tree.
Old olive tree

This afternoon we visited Nazareth Village, an open air museum where the time of Jesus is reenacted in the village and farm style, clothing and way of living. Only 500 meters from old Nazareth, they have unearthed an ancient wine press area in the rocks, as well as terraced farm land. Old, gnarled olive trees shelter the sheep and donkey that roam around while children play in period clothing and adults demonstrate herding, a guard station, weaving and more. There is even a carpenter named Joseph...  Everything is very enjoyable and interesting. Except the gift shop which sells plastic baby Jesus dolls.

We found a great restaurant where we've gone back twice for dinner: Tishreen Restaurant:

Check out:     
In our next blog, find the answer to the famous question: What Would Jesus Do?

Baby Jesus dolls for sale!

Shepard in Nazareth Village
Nazareth Village


Amazing - apparently they had cameras in the 1st century!

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