Today Nazareth is a bustling city of 80,000 inhabitants, making it the largest Arab city in Israel. It is also at the economic and cultural center for a larger Arab population, at least twice that size, living in several towns adjacent to the city, including Reine, Kafr Kana, Ein Mahel and Iksal.
Most of the local population depends on tourism, service industries, marketing and crafts. Farming is no longer possible because of the lack of land available to Arab communities. However, there are a few small industries, such as ice, knife and ceramics factories. Come celebrate Christmas in Nazereth.
Nazareth is not a place for a visit to just one church – or even several churches – no matter how celebrated. Christian visitors will want to see all the historic sites in the city and to soak up the atmosphere of the place that shaped Jesus’ character. They will want to walk through the quaint lanes, visit the markets, meet local residents, and see Nazareth Village, a re-creation of Nazareth and its culture as Jesus would have known it. A visit should consist of more than just a two-hour tour of the Old City; Nazareth merits a stay of several days if it is to be fully appreciated.
Nazareth offers a wide range of accommodation. There are hotels ranging from three to five stars, two monasteries high on the ridge above the city that have been converted into guest houses, and hostels in the Old Market that offer budget accommodation in spectacular surroundings.
Location and Arrival
Nazareth lies at the southern end of the Galilee Mountains, sprawling between, and spilling over, five rounded hills — Nabi Sa’in, Romane, Kufze, Rajme and Mount Sheikh, the highest at over 500 meters — forming a horseshoe with the city at their center. The concave side of the horseshoe faces the Jezreel Valley and the open side slopes steeply down to fields in the valley.
The hills are mainly made of chalk. From their summits, particularly along the western part of the Nabi Sa’in ridge, are some of the best views in Israel: the Jezreel Valley itself, the Karmel and Tabor mountains, Megiddo (the Biblical site of Armageddon), the Nablus mountains, the Jordan Valley, and the Mediterranean.
The gateways to modern Nazareth are the large intersections at each end of Pope Paul VI Street, and a third gateway is to be built at the foot of the Mount of Precipice. The heart of Nazareth is the Old City with an inner core of historical and religious buildings together with its outer markets, and surrounded by mansions and houses which compete for space on the slopes of the ridge.
Nazareth is in the northern part of Israel, in the Lower Galilee – a ride of about one and a half hours from Tel Aviv and one hour from Haifa.
For those coming from Tel Aviv and its surroundings:
Take Road 65 towards Afula. Go through Wadi Ara reaching the HaSargel Road, which bypasses Afula. At the end of the road turn left onto Road 60, signposted Nazareth.
For those using Road 6 (toll road):
Take the Iron Exit to the right and continue on Road 65 to Afula, through Wadi Ara reaching the HaSargel Road, which bypasses Afula. At the end of the road turn left onto Road 60, signposted Nazareth.
For those coming from Tiberia:
Take Road 77 heading west, and then turn left onto Road 754 signposted Kafr Kanna and Nazareth.
For those coming from Haifa:
Take Road 75 through Kiryat Tivon and Migdal Ha’Emmek.
From Tel Aviv Central Station take Egged Bus 823, or one of many other bus lines from Haifa and in the north run by the Nazareth Travel and Tourism Company: