Nazareth and the Galilee are the places where Jesus spent his childhood and youth. Then, Nazareth was a was a small Jewish farming village of a few hundred people. Today, modern day Nazareth is a vibrant city with a growing population of around 80,000, almost all of whom are either Muslim (70%) or Christian (30%) Arabs.
During December in Israel, it's always interesting to wander around towns and cities like Nazareth to see how people are preparing for Christmas and to enjoy all the glitter and lights of the Christmas decorations. So let’s wander around Nazareth and have a look at what Nazareth looks like and what the citizens are doing one evening, just a few days before Christmas Eve.
You can get a nice view of the city lights from hills to the west of Nazareth.
You can't see what is happening down there but it looks pretty.
On the way down to the centre you can see someone has decorated their house
but we're still not close enough to the main attractions and delights, so we have to go down a few levels to find out what is really going on. On the way down you can see local shops selling Christmas decorations.
Here's a young boy wondering what to choose for Christmas
and here is one of a number of beautifully decked out shops with people mulling around and choosing Christmas gifts and decorations.
Where are all the people going to?
Here's where, to the shopping mall for last minute photo opportunities with Santa, shopping and fun.
It's still early in the evening. This mall will be packed later.
Here you can buy candy floss,
join Santa and his reindeers,
agree to have your photo taken by Santa's sleigh.
And wonder, just like Santa - what surprises you're getting for Christmas this year.
For more on Nazareth:
Photo Essay: Night time in Nazareth — Churches and schools
Photo Essay - Christmas Decorations in Nazareth's Shops