Arrival to the church
Passing along Star Street towards the Holy Place of Jesus’ Nativity, as did the Magi from the East and, later, countless pilgrims, in the distance, and before arriving to the square in front of the current church, one is struck by the enchantment of a Place that for centuries has called millions of visitors from throughout the world to adore it.
Arriving at the paved square in front of the church, the sanctuary of the Nativity comes into view. At first sight it is not easy to understand the architectural structure of the church complex, which over the centuries has undergone numerous transformations. The structure dates back to the sixth century and was the work of architects employed by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, who wished to reconstruct the fourth century basilica that had been destroyed following the revolt of the Samaritans, as witnessed by Eutychius, Patriarch of Alexandria in 876..
Looking at the façade one is able to distinguish a number of sections that were part of the complex of the basilica and attached structures. Its fortress-like aspect arose from the requirements over the centuries to protect the structure and the residences of the religious who looked after the church.
Viewed from the front, the walls on the right enclose the Armenian and Greek monasteries, while to the left can be seen the modern construction of the Casa Nova and the Crusader-era Franciscan convent.