Just six miles south of Jerusalem is the town of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. In the middle of the town is Manger square, with the basilica of the Nativity.
The present church is 6th century, although a church on this site dates back to AD 339. The present church is undergoing major renovation, so scaffolding is everywhere.
A cave located underground beneath the main altar of the church contains the place of the birth of Christ, marked in the above picture by the silver star.
This place is regarded as one of the holiest sites in Christendom, as it marks the birthplace of Christianity. Although Bethlehem is in the West Bank and behind the security wall, there is little difficulty in getting there.
St Jerome, (born in Dalmatia around AD 347), spent several years in the caves of this area of Bethlehem, translating the Scriptures into Latin, this version to become known as the Vulgate. His statue stands in a quadrangle in the church grounds.
The Church of the Nativity was originally found by St Helena, who undertoook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to atone for the sins of her son, Constantine.