29 Facts About Bethlehem


The Hebrew Bible, which says that the city of Bethlehem was built up as a fortified city by Rehoboam, identifies it as the city David was from and where he was anointed as the king of Israel.

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Bethlehem was destroyed by the Emperor Hadrian during the second-century Bar Kokhba revolt; its rebuilding was promoted by Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, who commissioned the building of its great Church of the Nativity in 327 CE.

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Bethlehem became part of Jund Filastin following the Muslim conquest in 637.

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Control of Bethlehem passed from the Ottomans to the British at the end of World War I Bethlehem came under Jordanian rule during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and was later captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

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Since the 1995 Oslo Accords, Bethlehem has been administered by the Palestinian Authority as part of Area A of the West Bank.

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In 1099, Bethlehem was captured by the Crusaders, who fortified it and built a new monastery and cloister on the north side of the Church of the Nativity.

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However, Bethlehem suffered from the loss of the pilgrim trade, as there was a sharp decrease of European pilgrims.

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The Latin clergy returned to Bethlehem the following century, establishing themselves in the monastery adjoining the Basilica of the Nativity.

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In 1841, Bethlehem came under Ottoman rule and remained so until the end of World War I Under the Ottomans, Bethlehem's inhabitants faced unemployment, compulsory military service, and heavy taxes, resulting in mass emigration, particularly to South America.

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Bethlehem noted that a lack of water limited the town's growth.

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Socin found from an official Ottoman village list from about 1870 that Bethlehem had a population of 179 Muslims in 59 houses, 979 "Latins" in 256 houses, 824 "Greeks" in 213 houses, and 41 Armenians in 11 houses, a total of 539 houses.

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Bethlehem was administered by the British Mandate from 1920 to 1948.

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Jordan retained control of the city until the Six-Day War in 1967, when Bethlehem was captured by Israel, along with the rest of the West Bank.

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Bethlehem is located at an elevation of about 775 meters above sea level, 30 meters higher than nearby Jerusalem.

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Bethlehem has a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers and mild, wetter winters.

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Bethlehem factories produce paints, plastics, synthetic rubber, pharmaceuticals, construction materials and food products, mainly pasta and confectionery.

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In 2008, Bethlehem hosted the largest economic conference to date in the Palestinian territories.

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The Gospel of Matthew mentions Bethlehem as the place of birth, and adds that King Herod was told that a 'King of the Jews' had been born in the town, prompting Herod to order the killing of all the boys who were two years old or under in the town and surrounding area.

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Early Christian traditions describe Jesus as being born in Bethlehem: in one account, a verse in the Book of Micah is interpreted as a prophecy that the Messiah would be born there.

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Bethlehem celebrates festivals related to saints and prophets associated with Palestinian folklore.

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Bethlehem work was unique in its use of couched gold or silver cord, or silk cord onto the silk, wool, felt or velvet used for the garment, to create stylized floral patterns with free or rounded lines.

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Bethlehem is home to the Palestinian Heritage Center, established in 1991.

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The International Center of Bethlehem is another cultural center that concentrates primarily on the culture of Bethlehem.

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Bethlehem has four museums: The Crib of the Nativity Theatre and Museum offers visitors 31 three-dimensional models depicting the significant stages of the life of Jesus.

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Bethlehem is the muhfaza or district capital of the Bethlehem Governorate.

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Bethlehem held its first municipal elections in 1876, after the mukhtars of the quarters of Bethlehem's Old City made the decision to elect a local council of seven members to represent each clan in the town.

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Bethlehem is home to Bethlehem University, a Catholic Christian co-educational institution of higher learning founded in 1973 in the Lasallian tradition, open to students of all faiths.

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Bethlehem University is the first university established in the West Bank, and can trace its roots to 1893 when the De La Salle Christian Brothers opened schools throughout Palestine and Egypt.

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Bethlehem has three bus stations owned by private companies which offer service to Jerusalem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour, Hebron, Nahalin, Battir, al-Khader, al-Ubeidiya and Beit Fajjar.

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