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St. Joseph's Church, Nazareth

St Joseph's Church is a church in Nazareth with several traditions ascribed to it, and nowadays it is generally believed that this was the site of Joseph's carpentry workshop or that it was his house. However, this Church, which was built by the Crusader's in the 12th century, was built over the remains of a Byzantine church which had no specific connection to Joseph.

The Franciscan church in its current state was established in 1914, but in the underground crypt you can see ancient water pits, intricate mosaics, and caves that were used around the 1st and 2nd centuries BC believed to be where Joseph worked. You can see the ritual baths from Christianity when Jewish traditions were still practised.

The design is Neo-Romanski, and has 3 long halls with enceintes at the end, and stairs leading down to the lower floors with the archaeological remains. An Italian artist painted the Church's abses in the 1950s, with images showing the holy family and one of Joseph on his own. The church's story is told in the windows. The layout was built to reflect the popular design of churches in France during the 12th century, and the 3 halls create a cross shape. The crypt, however, was left untouched.

Following the beginning of Arabic rule over the region in the 13th century, the church was destroyed and left in ruins until the 18th century, when it was purchased by the Franciscans to build a chapel for St. Joseph. The Byzantine church underneath was discovered by Father Prof. Veo who led archaeological excavations there in 1908.

The church is free to enter and is open every day from 8am until 6pm (5pm in the winter). Visitors are asked to dress modestly and to speak softly.

Attractions near St. Joseph's Church, Nazareth

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Location: Nazareth, next to Basilica of the Annunciation, Galilee & Golan
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Age: All ages
Seasons: Year-round
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