Toward the end of the infamous walk through the streets of Nazereth, we came to The Basilica of the Annunciation. According to Roman Catholic tradition, this is where Mary’s annunciation took place. I have to laugh at myself because before the trip and even up until we arrived at the churches I was still wondering, “What is the Annunciation?” I mean I know who Mary is and the Biblical account of her, but I don’t remember reading “The Annunciation” in my Bible! Ha ha. But it is simply referring to the account as written in Luke 1:26-38 where the angel Gabriel ANNOUNCED that she, a virgin, would conceive and bring forth a son who would be called Jesus, the Son of God. The Church of the Annunciation is topped with a concrete dome 55 meters high. The shape of it is based on the Madonna lily, a symbol of the Virgin Mary.
Inside, the basilica consists of an upper church and a lower church. The upper level is decorated with mosaics of the Virgin donated by communities from around the world. These can also be found around the enclosed courtyard of the church.
Having spent much time in Mexico as a child I came to really appreciate the beauty of the Roman Catholic churches. Each one is unique. The Church of the Annunciation is a two-stories and built in 1969 over the site of a Byzantine-era and then later a Crusader-era church.
My husband, who is a structural engineer, spent much time admiring the amazing design of the ceiling.
The lower level contained the Grotto of the Annunciation which is believed by many to be the remains of the original childhood home of Mary.
There were long lines of people there getting selfies by the shrine. This is in the cave that is traditionally where the Annunciation took place.
The Basilica of the Annunciation is the biggest of the churches we visited in Israel and structurally very beautiful. Again, we don’t know for sure whether this was THE place of the Annunciation, but we do know that it had to have happened very near in this area, for this was in fact Nazareth, though modern, it is the place where Mary and Joseph lived, the place Jesus grew up. Wow!
This just took my breath away. I know that people use that expression a lot, but I don’t and this is the best way to describe what I am feeling right now. You have a way with both photography and storytelling, and I cannot get enough of your vacation posts.
Sonya, thank you so much for your sweet words. You made my day! 🙂