Religious Routes And Sites
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Manger Square

Many are the pilgrims who have stood here and taken in the scene. From this place, too, generations of Bethlehmeites have stood and watched people enter their city as visitors or conquerors. They have seen many curious sights over the centuries, such as the men sat who stood on a pillar in front of the church for years at a time. From this square, perhaps, hundreds of terrified residents saw their beloved church on the verge of going up in smoke or destroyed by earthquake. As they engaged in the barter and banter of the Saturday Market, just outside, they could watch the progress of its renovations. Men might gather to share the events of the day in the cemetery, which used to be right outside the church as well, taking their ease on the convenient tombstones, and warming themselves in the winter sun. This Square was once a depression between the Church and Star Street where sheepfolds were found. It is here that the water passed on its way from Solomon’s Pools to Jerusalem. Once paved over, it was a much smaller area, only extended in the 1960’s when buildings forming part of the Qawawseh and Najajreh Quarters were torn down.