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Ein Kerem – Faith and Art

Ein Kerem is the fourth holiest site for Christians, after Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth. It was here, at the village spring, that Mary met Elizabeth. Both women were pregnant, and each mother’s fetus rejoiced in this pre-birth meeting. John was born in a local cave and was known as “The Baptist” until he turned into “The Forerunner”. Ein Kerem is sacred to his followers. Two of the three canticles were created here – the Benedictus and the Magnificat. Many nations wanted a presence in Ein Kerem and were inspired by it. The spring – a source of life, was sacred to all. The Muslims built a Mosque and a minaret above it.  Churches and monasteries were built on the venerated sites. The mosaic floor of a Byzantine church was found at the site of St. John’s church, near a statue of Aphrodite and a Jewish ritual immersion pool. Resources and talent were invested in architecture, sculptures, mosaics, murals, tiles and icons. Artists brought their heritage and style, creating a unique symphony of accumulated culture. 

Route: Ein Kerem promenade > Russian compound > Trail to Ein Kerem > Visitation church > Mary’s spring > Community orchard > Greek Orthodox church > Sisters of Zion convent > St. John’s church

Duration: 6-7 hours.

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