What You Need To Know
Nazareth is the capital and the largest city in the Northern District of Israel. Nazareth is known as “the Arab capital of Israel”. In 2014 its population was 74,619. The inhabitants are predominantly Arabs, of whom 69 are Muslim and 30.9 Christian. Nazareth Illit (lit. “Upper Nazareth”) is built alongside old Nazareth, and had a Jewish population of 40,312 in 2014. The Jewish sector was declared a separate city in June 1974.In the New Testament, the city is described as the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical events.
Area: 14.123 km2
Population: About 64,800
- The currency in Ashdod is Shekel (₪, ILS, NIS). You can find ATM’s along the city.
- The Church of the Annunciation is the largest Catholic church in the Middle East. In Roman Catholic tradition, it marks the site where the Archangel Gabriel announced the future birth of Jesus to the Mary (Luke 1:26–31).
- The Church of St. Gabriel is an alternative Eastern Orthodox site for the Annunciation.
- The Synagogue Church is a Melkite Greek Catholic Church at the traditional site of the synagogue where Jesus preached (Luke 4).
- The St. Joseph’s Church marks the traditional location for the workshop of Saint Joseph.
- The Mensa Christi Church, run by the Franciscan religious order, commemorates the traditional location where Jesus dined with the Apostles after his Resurrection
- The Basilica of Jesus the Adolescent, run by the Salesian religious order, occupies a hill overlooking the city.
- The Church of Christ is an Anglican church in Nazareth.
- The Church of Our Lady of the Fright marks the spot where Mary is said to have seen Jesus being taken to a cliff by the congregation of the synagogue
- The Jesus Trail pilgrimage route connects many of the religious sites in Nazareth on a 60 km (37 mi) walking trail which ends in Capernaum.
In 2011, Nazareth had over 20 Arab-owned high-tech companies, mostly in the field of software development. According to the Haaretz newspaper the city has been called the “Silicon Valley of the Arab community” in view of its potential in this sphere. Israel Military Industries employs “some 300” people in Nazareth manufacturing munitions.
One conjecture holds that “Nazareth” is derived from one of the Hebrew words for ‘branch’, namely ne·ṣer, נֵ֫צֶר, and alludes to the prophetic, messianic words in Book of Isaiah 11:1, ‘from (Jesse’s) roots a Branch (netzer) will bear fruit’. One view suggests this toponym might be an example of a tribal name used by resettling groups on their return from exile. Alternatively, the name may derive from the verb na·ṣar, נָצַר, “watch, guard, keep,” and understood either in the sense of “watchtower” or “guard place”, implying the early town was perched on or near the brow of the hill, or, in the passive sense as ‘preserved, protected’ in reference to its secluded position. The negative references to Nazareth in the Gospel of John suggest that ancient Jews did not connect the town’s name to prophecy. Another theory holds that the Greek form Nazara, used in Matthew and Luke, may derive from an earlier Aramaic form of the name, or from another Semitic language form. If there were a tsade (צ) in the original Semitic form, as in the later Hebrew forms, it would normally have been transcribed in Greek with a sigma instead of a zeta. This has led some scholars to question whether “Nazareth” and its cognates in the New Testament actually refer to the settlement known traditionally as Nazareth in Lower Galilee. Such linguistic discrepancies may be explained, however, by “a peculiarity of the ‘Palestinian’ Aramaic dialect wherein a sade (ṣ) between two voiced (sonant) consonants tended to be partially assimilated by taking on a zayin (z) sound.”
The Arabic name for Nazareth is an-Nāṣira, and Jesus (Arabic: يَسُوع, Yasū`) is also called an-Nāṣirī, reflecting the Arab tradition of according people an attribution, a name denoting whence a person comes in either geographical or tribal terms. In the Qur’an, Christians are referred to asnaṣārā, meaning “followers of an-Nāṣirī”, or “those who follow Jesus”.
New Testament references
In Luke’s Gospel, Nazareth is first described as ‘a city of Galilee’ and home of Mary(Luke 1:26). Following the birth and early epiphanial events of chapter 2 of Luke’s Gospel, Mary, Joseph and Jesus “returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth”. In English translations of the New Testament, the phrase “Jesus of Nazareth” appears seventeen times whereas the Greek has the form “Jesus the Nazarēnos” or “Jesus the Nazōraios.” One plausible view is that Nazōraean (Ναζωραῖος) is a normal Greek adaptation of a reconstructed, hypothetical term in Jewish Aramaic for the word later used in Rabbinical sources to refer to Jesus. “Nazaréth” is named twelve times in surviving Greek manuscript versions of the New Testament, 10 times as Nazaréth or Nazarét, and twice as Nazará. The former two may retain the ‘feminine’ endings common in Galilean toponyms. The minor variants, Nazarat andNazarath are also attested. Nazara (Ναζαρά) might be the earliest form of the name in Greek, going back to the putative Q document. It is found in Matthew 4:13 and Luke 4:16. However, the Textus Receptus clearly translates all passages as Nazara leaving little room for debate there. Many scholars have questioned a link between “Nazareth” and the terms “Nazarene” and “Nazoraean” on linguistic grounds, while some affirm the possibility of etymological relation “given the idiosyncrasies of Galilean Aramaic.”
Hebrew, the language of the Bible, and Arabic are the official languages of the State of Israel. Hebrew (and Arabic too) is written from right to left.
The city’s main football club, Ahi Nazareth, currently plays in Liga Leumit, the second tier of Israeli football. The club spent two seasons in the top division, in 2003–04 and again in 2009–10. They are based at the Ilut Stadium in nearby Ilut. Other local clubs are Al-Nahda Nazareth, currently plays in Liga Bet, Beitar al-Amal Nazareth, Hapoel Bnei Nazareth and Hapoel al-Ittihad Nazareth all play in Liga Gimel.
Central Nazareth can be easily covered on foot. There is also public transport, which operates on Saturdays; however, the buses tend to get stuck in the traffic after 9:00AM – 12:00PM. There is usually traffic from 12:00PM until 6:00PM. Main traffic is at the main street of Nazareth, where there is also a good deal of shwarma and falafel eateries. Traffic is avoidable by car if you are not going through the main street.
In Nazareth, the climate is warm and temperate. The rain in Nazareth falls mostly in the winter, with relatively little rain in the summer. This location is classified as Csa by Köppen and Geiger. In Nazareth, the average annual temperature is 19.4 °C. About 580 mm of precipitation falls annually.