is a Palestinian city located in the central West
Bank, neighbouring south Jerusalem, with a population of about 25,000 people.
It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National
Authority. The economy is primarily tourist-driven
The Hebrew Bible identifies Bethlehem as the city David was from and the
location where he was crowned as the king of Israel.
The New Testament identifies Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus of
Nazareth. The town is inhabited by one of the oldest Christian communities
in the world, although the size of the community has shrunk due to emigration.
Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem
Christmas rites are held in Bethlehem on three different dates: December 25
is the traditional date by the Roman Catholic and Protestant denominations, but
Greek, Coptic and Syrian Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 6
and Armenian Orthodox Christians on January 19. Most Christmas processions
pass through Manger Square, the plaza outside the Basilica of the Nativity.
Roman Catholic services take place in St. Catherine's Church and Protestants
often hold services at Shepherds' Fields
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