Historical and religious sites are a highlight of any trip to Israel.
Countless churches in Israel are open to the public, some dating back hundreds of years, and many are in Jerusalem. There are also many beautiful and fascinating buildings throughout the country.
The experience of walking in Jesus’ footsteps on tour in Israel is an unforgettable journey for Christians.
Here are 5 of Israel’s oldest churches, highlighting their unique architecture, mosaics, and artifacts that continue to captivate visitors worldwide.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem:
Our journey begins in the heart of Jerusalem, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Constructed in the 4th century by Emperor Constantine the Great, this church marks where Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected.
As you explore the church’s various chapels and altars, you’ll witness a blend of different Christian denominations and traditions, each paying homage to their interpretation of the events.
Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem:
Next, we’ll visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the oldest continuously operating church in the world. Constructed by Constantine the Great in 326 AD, the basilica features a 14-point silver star embedded in the floor, marking the exact spot where Jesus was born. The church’s ancient mosaics, intricate woodwork, and captivating artwork will leave you in awe.
St. Peter’s Church, Jaffa:
The Church of Saint Peter, nestled in the picturesque and historic Old City of Jaffa, is a remarkable testament to architectural beauty and religious heritage. While its origins can be traced back to the 16th century, the current structure was built during the 19th century.
Visitors are captivated by its stunning features, such as the soaring vaulted ceiling, exquisite stained glass windows, and elegant marble walls. The church is dedicated to Saint Peter, who, according to the Bible, performed the miracle of raising Tabitha from the dead in the ancient town of Jaffa.
Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth:
We’ll then head to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus, to explore the Church of the Annunciation. This impressive basilica, completed in 1969, stands on the site where the Angel Gabriel is believed to have appeared to Mary, announcing that she would bear the Son of God.
Beneath the modern structure, you’ll find the remains of earlier churches, including a 5th-century Byzantine church and a 12th-century Crusader church. The mixture of ancient and contemporary architecture creates a unique atmosphere, connecting past and present in a seamless way.
Church of the Ascension, Jerusalem:
At-Tur district of Jerusalem is home to the Chapel of the Ascension, a chapel and shrine located on Mount of Olives. The site is believed to be where Jesus ascended into Heaven after his Resurrection and is part of a larger complex that includes a Christian church and monastery. The building houses a slab of stone containing what is believed to be one of his footprints.
Ready for more?
Our spiritual journey through the oldest Christian churches in Israel has allowed us to walk in the footsteps of the early Christians, experiencing the divine history that permeates this sacred land.
Whenever you are ready to visit these churches and connect with your pilgrimage, Coral Travel & Tours is here to help you book your trip with a catered package tour.
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