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Religious and Archaeological Sites

In terms of religious establishments, there are four churches in Beit Sahour: the Greek Orthodox Church, the Greek Catholic Church, the Latin Patriarch Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and two mosques: ‘Omar Ben Al Khattab Mosque, and Harasa Mosque.

As for the archaeological sites, Beit Sahour city is full of significant historical and biblical sites. Ruins from Roman, Byzantine, Islamic and Crusader times can be found throughout the area. In addition, there are many sites of special importance to the followers of the three monotheistic religions, to whom this land is sacred, including:

 

Bir as-Sayidah - The Well of Mary:

One of the deepest and most important wells that is located in the center of city. Jacob the son of Isaac (who was the son of Abraham) is believed to have dug this well. It is said that Virgin Mary, while traveling to Egypt, passed by it and since she was thirsty, she asked a woman if she would draw water for her. However, the woman refused and the water in the well miraculously overflowed by itself. This cistern is famous for the scene of many miracles, in addition to the site of a visitation by the Virgin Mary.

The Orthodox Shepherds’ Field:

Beit Sahour is located in a small valley filled with olive trees, some of which date back to 2,000 years ago, is a subterranean church dedicated to the Mother of God. Local Christians call the site Der Er-Ra'wat, meaning the Convent of the Shepherds. The site is revered as the spot where an angel, surrounded by a supernatural light, appeared to the bewildered shepherds and spoke: "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth, Peace among Men." Three of the shepherds to whom the angel announced the birth of Christ were buried in the west side of the Cave Church; their tombs are still visible.

The Catholic Shepherds’ Field:

The Franciscan site (The Catholic Shepherd’s Field), known as Der Es-Siar, located 1km north-west of the Orthodox Shepherd Field. According to archaeological evidence in the field, an early church dating from the fifth century was enlarged in the sixth century and stones from the octagonal structure of the Basilica of the Nativity were used in the construction of its apse. The present sanctuary, erected in 1953-54, stands over a cave in which the shepherds are believed to have lived. It is built in the shape of a tent, permitting natural light to enter the church in beautiful rays.

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