Church of the Nativity of St John the Baptist – Ein Karem

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Background: The Church of St. John the Baptist commemorates the spot where John the Baptist was born (shown by a star on the ground in a grotto – like Christ’s in Bethlehem). The church was built in the second half of the 19th century, over the remains of an older Byzantine church but has been Franciscan since 1674. The church is known for its large tower and tall spire, which is the symbol of Ein Karem and can be seen from even Jerusalem. The interior houses many paintings and depictions of John the Baptist, including a famous painting of his beheading.

Impressions: For such a large church, the parts that are accessible are very small. We were able to catch the grotto and side chapels between two large tour groups and got to see everything quietly. The caretaker monk again was from South America, but my friend (who went with me to Mt Tabor), didn’t try his Spanish this time.

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~ by jonathanmtsai on May 16, 2011.

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