Nazareth is the largest city in the Northern District of Israel. It is known as the Arab capital of the country with a mixed population of Christian and Muslim Arabs. In 2009, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics reported that Nazareth's Arab population was 69% Muslim and 30.9% Christian. In the New Testament, the town is described as the childhood home of Jesus and it is a center of Christian pilgrimage. Nazareth is home to dozens of monasteries and churches, many of them in the Old City. This city of churches is a major tourist attraction and place of pilgrimage for the world's Christians, who believe it to be the site of the Annunciation - when the Archangel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary. Nazareth's main sightseeing highlight is the Church of the Annunciation. It is regarded as one of the most important churches of modern times in Israel and top of the things to do list in Nazareth. The massive two-storey basilica, in strikingly modern architectural style and colorfully decorated, became the largest Christian church in the Middle East when it was completed in 1969. It contains two churches, the upper one being the parish church for Nazareth’s Catholic community.
Don't miss the Mary of Nazareth International Center, just opposite the Church of the Annunciation. The center offers a biblical multimedia shows and a series of film exhibits that explain Mary's life and her representation both in the Bible and Qur'an as well as the story of early Christianity and the Eastern Church. There is large beautifully landscaped garden with restaurants offering excellent views across Nazareth. Another must visit is the Mary's Well, located 400M north of the Church of Annunciation. According to the Greek Orthodox, whose Church of St Gabriel is adjacent, this is the true site of the Annunciation.