The Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth, Northern District, Israel
The Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth is a modern Catholic church built over the remains of Byzantine and Crusader churches. It incorporates the cave in which the Virgin Mary received the news from Gabriel that she would give birth to Jesus.
The site has been a pilgrimage destination since earliest times and remains an important stop for Holy Land pilgrims today.Early sources on Nazareth’s history are scarce, but Eusebius says Nazareth was a small Jewish town in the Roman and Byzantine periods. Evidence of Jewish converts to Christianity in Nazareth is provided by the historian Africanus in the 3rd century and pilgrimage to Nazareth is first attested in the late 4th century.
The cave that is enshrined inside the basilica was identified no later than the 4th century as the place of the Annunciation. It is not known when the first church was built here, but one probably existed by the early 4th century. An altar is referred to in c.384 AD and a church is mentioned by c.570 AD.
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