Today Christians remember the birth of Christ in the city of Bethlehem.
|Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem|
Following the Jewish uprising of 132-135, Hadrian ordered Roman temples erected on top of all Jewish and Christian holy sites. Over the cave in Bethlehem, revered by the small but significant Christian community still resident in Palestine, a temple to Adonis was built. Although certainly an insult to Christians of the time, it was a fortuitous development for later generations since it effectively marked a location that might otherwise have been lost from memory.
|Emperor Constantine - Wall Mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Istanbul (Constantinople)|
With the establishment of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem, Bethlehem became the seat of a bishop. It remained part of the royal domain, however, and Baldwin of Bouillon was crowned the first King of Jerusalem in the Church of the Nativity. A tradition followed by his successor, Baldwin II, but not subsequent kings, who preferred to be crowned in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
|Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem|
|Crusader Mosaics at the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem|
|The Fortress-like Construction seems sadly appropriate. Palestinian Terrorists held nuns, priests and tourists hostage here in April 2002.|
|The Crusader cloisters -- my favorite place.|