This is the Catholic Church of the Annunciation – or Basilica of the Annunciation
The Catholic Church of the Annunciation with its towering cupola is one of the biggest, most magnificent churches in the Middle East today.The church has two stories as well as the preservation of the holy cave in the center of the lower floor. In a colonnade around this Basilica, on the south and west walls, there is a gallery with 43 national mosaics. The mosaics represent some of the most important Marian devotions in different countries, each reflecting the national motives of the donor country.
Outside the Catholic Church of Annunciation
Now this is a list of nations which have donated mosaics of Marian devotions – found in the outside gallery.
Especially relevant, it is believed that the first shrine was built in the middle of the 4th century in the cave in which Mary had lived and later was enlarged by Emperor Constantine I. The second huge church was built over the ruins of the Byzantine era church during the Crusades. In 1260, Baybars and his Mamluk army destroyed the church. Emir Fakr ad-Din granted the Franciscans permission to return in 1620, at which time they constructed a small structure to enclose the holy grotto that is venerated as the house of Mary. In 1730, Dahir al-Umar permitted construction of a new church. This church was completely demolished in 1954 to allow for the construction of a new basilica.
Is this a Barluzzi church?
This is the amazing building that Antonio Barluzzi, the architect of many great churches in Israel, didn’t succeed to design. It broke his heart.
What? There are two churches?
Like many things in Israel, there are two churches with this name. So read about the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation here.
Above the altar in front of the cave is a large octagonal opening situated exactly under the cupola of the church.The modern cupola is an inverted lily, opening its petals to the shrine below. The Cupola is surmounted by a lantern symbolising the Light of the World. On the cream limestone façade are reliefs of Mary, Gabriel and the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Above them is a bronze statue of Jesus.
Inside the Catholic Church of Annunciation
Admission to the Basilica is free.
Winter – Monday to Saturday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Summer – Saturday to Sunday, 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Note: Please dress modestly and speak softly.
The Church of St. Joseph