Bethlehem - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Bethlehem


Bethlehem is just six miles (10km) south of Jerusalem, and is a major tourist attraction for pilgrims and visitors alike. The putative birthplace of Jesus, this is a charming town despite its tourist-centred commercialism. The Church of the Nativity is the focal point for a visit to the town, erected over the site of Jesus' birthplace. Bethlehem is also a wonderful place to experience the variety of Christian monasteries that represent every permutation of Christianity. Christmas is celebrated on three separate dates in accordance with the Catholic and Western church calendars, the Eastern calendar followed by the Armenians, and the Julian calendar followed by the Greek Orthodox and Eastern churches. For further exploration of the town's cultural diversity, visit the Bethlehem Museum, established by the Arab Women's Union to celebrate the area's Palestinian cultural heritage. The exhibits include displays from traditional household items to clothing, jewellery and old photographs. (The Bethlehem Museum is open Monday to Wednesday and Friday and Saturday between 8am and 5pm, and on Thursdays between 8am and 12pm.)

Information & Facts

The PNA Tourist Ministry, located on the south side of Manger Square, is open Monday to Saturday between 8am and 2.30pm
Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages of Israel. Most of the population also speak English.

The Israeli Shekel (ILS) is divided into 100 agorot (singular is agora). Money can be changed in the small exchange bureaux found on most main streets, or at banks and hotels. ATMs are prevalent throughout the country and linked to American systems. Most banks are open Sunday through to Friday until noon, and are open again from 4pm till 6pm on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Major credit cards are widely accepted, as are travellers cheques, though commission on these is high.

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