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