According to the Bible Jesus was born in Bethlehem, now belonging to the Palestinian autonomy area in the Westbank. The place now marked as the birthplace has already been used from the 2nd century CE on. You can enter the Church of Nativity through a 1.20m high door – making every visitor bow down.
The church itself is divided into different sections used by different Christian church organizations. The agreement between them includes, that the space above the grotto where Jesus has been born is used by the Orthodox. As I hired a guide for my visit he could negotiate a visit to the grotto during the devine service.
If you step down you can see an altar and below it a silver star integrated into the ground holding the inscription Hic de virgine Maria Jesus Christus natus est. This place has seen a lot of warfare during the centuries. Even only in 2002 this place has been besieged by the IDF during the 2nd Intifada – but no big destruction happened. It has been declared UNESCO world heritage and immediatly been put on the red list.