Bethlehem, according to the Gospels, is the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. One of the oldest Christian communities resides there, even as their numbers have dwindled recently as a result of emigration, mostly to the United States. Throughout its history, Bethlehem has been settled and/or presided over by the Canaanites, Israelites, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Circassian Mamluks, Ottoman Turks, Jordanians, Israelis and Palestinians.
Today Bethlehem has a Muslim majority but is also home to one of the largest Palestinian Christian communities in the Middle East. An important Jewish holy site, the tomb of one of the biblical Foremothers, Rachel, is located at the entrance to Bethlehem.
Today Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the West Bank, approximately 10 kilometers (6 mi) south of Jerusalem, with a population of 30,000 people, and is a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism.
Bethlehem Photo Gallery