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Grotto of the Nativity - Church of the Nativity, Betlehem
West Bank
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William Hamblin
Church Nativity Bethlehem
Zoran Strajin
Church of the Nativity - Bethlehem
Zoran Strajin
Church of Nativity, detail of interior - Bethlehem
Zoran Strajin
Working place of St. Jerome (below St. Catherine's Church) - Bethlehem
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Complex of underground caves and rock-cut chambers, below The Church of St. Catherine - - Bethlehem
Zoran Strajin
Outside of Church of the St Catherine - Bethlehem
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St Catherine Church, Bethlehem
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St. Catherine's Church - Bethlehem
Zoran Strajin
St. Catherine Church - Bethlehem
Zoran Strajin
Entrance to the Church of the Nativity - Bethlehem
Zoran Strajin
Outside the Factory - Bethlehem
Zoran Strajin
HAPPY CHRISTMAS! - Observing a Little Town of Bethlehem from Above - Church of the Nativity in sight
johnchoy ( 蔡旭威 )
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Mer om Middle East

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.