Complex of underground caves and rock-cut chambers, below The Church of St. Catherine - - Bethlehem
The (Roman Catholic) Franciscan Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria was built in 1882 on the ruins of the Crusader church and monastery belonging to the Augustinians. The colonnade of the present atrium (designed in 1948 by Antonio Barluzzi) incorporates surviving elements of the medieval cloister.
Below Church is a complex of caves and rock-cut chambers, which contain a number of chapels. One of these is popularly identified as the room in which St. Jerome translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into the Latin Vulgate, starting in the year 384.
A short passage from one of the adjoining chambers leads into the Grotto of the Nativity, but the door giving access is usually locked.
Here is St Jerome Grotto were he translated the Bible into Latin (The Vulgata) around 386. In the sam...
This is the Apse of the Orthodox Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Underneath is the grotto of th...
The Church of St. Catherine is a Catholic church and Franciscan monastery connected to the mostly Ort...
The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is a major Christian holy site, as it marks the traditional p...
Modern civilization began right here in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. Also known as the Fertile Crescent or Mesopotamia, this is the place where, six thousand years ago, agriculture, writing and mathematics were brought into widespread use.
The term "Middle East" comes from the British navy, which used it to describe the countries on the trade route from Europe to India and China. Everything from Afghanistan to Morocco may possibly be classified as "middle eastern", depending on whom you ask -- and when.
Only a partial list of past Empires in the middle eastern territory includes Sumeria, Babylonia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire!
When northern Europe was still lurking about in slimy cold stone castles playing chess, the Middle East was enjoying the flowers of poetry, luxurious craftsmanship, music and literature. In fact, the Renaissance in Europe was partly inspired by stories brought back from the middle east by travelers along the trade route.
Strategic location, religious history and the world's largest supply of crude oil have kept the Middle East at the center of world activity for centuries. The saga continues.
Text by Steve Smith.