Monday, May 7, 2018

2018 Eastern Mediterranean Trip - Day 13, Nazareth

Nazareth - Town of biblical significance - one of the many important Christian sites in Israel. It also happens to be the largest Arab town in Israel. We are using it as a base for the next four days. But today we toured the city itself.

It took a bit of reorientation to realize you were in an Arabic speaking part Christian/par Muslim area. Also Wife and I are finally kicking the colds that dragged us down so the first week of the trip. It was the first day we felt more like ourselves. So it was doing what we love best, figuring out how to get around, finding what was there to be found, and opening ourselves for experiences.

First task was to get into town. We are up on a hill crest and while Google maps said it was only a mile to where we wanted to go, there was no way we were going to walk down that steep hill. So call a taxi company, deal with at least three people speaking broken English and hearing Arabic a mile a minute in the background. Wonder if a cab is coming only to see it outside our door 10 minutes later.

We are efficiently brought to the old city and deposited at the Basilica of the Annunciation. This is a church built over the site where Mary was told by Angel Gabriel that he child she bore was Jesus. Unless of course you are Eastern Orthodox. For they claim the site was about a half a mile away and have their own church to mark the spot.

These two churches were the focal point of our visit and they were both in their own ways quite remarkable. The Basilica is actually the fifth church built on this spot. The first dates to the 5th century. It was destroyed when the Muslims conquered the Holy Land. When the Crusaders came back they built a new church. But when the Crusaders were defeated it was thrown down again. Later under the Ottomans a new church was built. It was destroyed by natural disaster. Rebuilt. And finally in the 1960's the current church was built. I tend to not be excited about newer churches but this one was pretty amazing. It is designed by an Italian architect and has all kinds of neat and inspiring features.

The Exterior

Approaching the Basilica to the sound of bells and birds

There is a lower church that is devoted to the grotto where Mary had the experience with Gabriel

Photography gone bad
I was all psyched up by the lines on the floor
Lines leading to subject matter are a big deal in composition
Unfortunately, I failed to notice the two rear ends that make up the focal point
My bad

The upper church is the home of the local congregation

So many interesting design notes
The whole structure looks like it is a massive wood structure even to the decorating of the concrete 
A very neat organ
 Very different and appealing use of stained glass

And one of the most noticeable features
Mosaics from countries around the world representing their vision of the Annunciation
These are only a fraction
Just the differences between the nations self image and world view is fascinating

How about the stark differences between the Chinese, Indonesian, and Romanian images?

This the Daughter #2 special series

 This is not part of that series

For contrast lets look at the Greek Orthodox Church
It too had been built, destroyed and rebuilt
The current church dates to the 18th century
Not much to look at on the outside

But like the Greek inspired churches we saw in the Fall when we were visiting the Salento in Italy, the interior was entirely different story!

Wife at the actual springs where Mary was (by Orthodox tradition) met by Gabriel
We had to wait for a group of Russian tourists who at the same time were showing the deepest devotion and doing the most touristy poses in front of this most devout site
A bit strange to me
The darkness of Orthodox images has always had an attraction to me

Other things in Nazareth
Mary's Well
Guess there's always room for yet another contender!
The White Mosque
Built in the 18th century, a place of local worship
Quiet, calm, clearly a place for real use
A solitary worshiper

I liked the broom next to the door
Real life is here
A Muslim graveyard


Renee Michelle Goertzen said...

I really like the video of the birds and bells- it have a real sense of place.

And hooray for the taxi! It is good to celebrate the small travel victories.

alexis said...

I am also glad to hear y'all are feeling better!