The International Mary of Nazareth Center (Centre International Marie de Nazareth), sits quietly across the street from the Basilica of the Annunciation (and here on Facebook), and is–sadly–unknown to many pilgrims. I’d like to change that.
I was in Nazareth last week, and while this was my third visit to Nazareth, it was my first time exploring the Centre. I was so impressed, I decided I had to tell everyone I could:
The International Mary of Nazareth Center is a MUST SEE for any visitor to Nazareth.
1. The Multimedia Exhibit
Here’s a quick peek:
While most videos you will encounter in the Holy Land tend to be badly produced or overly cheesy, this one is a masterpiece–and I am very critical!
It’s not just a video you watch, but a complete sensory experience! The music is amazing (I bought the CD!), the footage is well done and informative, and the presentation is awe-inspiring. I found myself, mouth agape, many times, as I marveled at the workmanship. And it’s available in 11 languages!
The video takes you through the centuries, from the creation to Mary’s childhood here in Nazareth, and helps visitors understand and enter into the lives of the Holy Family.
2. The Archaeological Finds
I was first introduced to this site last year by my friend, Habib, who lives in Nazareth and who has long known about this site’s amazing offerings. I met with Luc Lagabrielle and Beatrice Bourrat, who introduced me to the archaeological finds at the Centre of the ruins of a house from the 1st century. While the centre doesn’t say that this home belonged to the Holy Family, that doesn’t take away from the historical importance of the site. Plus, with Mary’s home–where the Annunciation took place–just across the street and St Joseph’s home–now the Church of St Joseph– right next to it, this home clearly belonged to one of their neighbors! They very well might have visited!
3. The Chapel & Rooftop Gardens
Upstairs is a beautiful chapel and rooftop garden that provides pilgrims and visitors with a quiet space to pray and meditate on God’s creation.
There are great views of the Basilica of the Annunciation from here
and the chapel is full of amazing art, as well (see more here).
The flora and fauna of the rooftop gardens include 7 species of Biblical plants, including dates, figs, olives, pomegranates, grapes, barley, and wheat, and more than 400 other species of plants.
4. The Restaurant & Shop
Downstairs, in a beautifully renovated Crusader-era building, visitors can enjoy yummy food to refresh their bodies and souls.
The gift shop provides a variety of gifts from the Holy Land, including olive wood crafts, Palestinian embroidery, and homemade sweets and jams!
5. The Knowledge You Gain
After watching the multimedia exhibit and exploring the Centre, I truly felt closer to the Holy Family, understanding a little better what life was like for them here in Nazareth.
Visiting the Holy Land is not only an exciting learning experience, but it helps you grow in faith because you step inside of the Gospels to see a 3D version of them!
Next time you’re in Nazareth, be sure to get in touch with the Centre and spend some time there. Every minute is worth it!
The Center is open everyday, except Sunday
Monday – Saturday: 9:30-12:00 AM and 2:30-5:00 PM
Private booking available at any time.
15A Casa Nova Street – POB 50199
16161 Nazareth – Israel
Tel/Fax: +972 (0)4 646 12 66