Monday, 27 February 2012

Chapter 108 Nazareth - a city of two tales

There are two Nazareths. 

One is the Nazareth of legend. Stunning Ottoman architecture, floating spires, and fantastical churches; standing; watching; outliving us all. Setting the stage day after day for religious pilgrims and tourists.

Cobbled, winding pedestrian roads leading through a quaint old market.Sunshine dappling through huddled, hunched buildings. Carpentry workshops and little shops carved into ruins and coffee shops peeking out from beneath old Roman staircases.

The smells of spice shops, wood shavings and wafts of sheesha smoke. 

Wonderful little restaurants.Candle light careening off ancient walls. To die for, absolutely mind blowing fusion food eaten with fine wines and followed by sinful deserts.

But there are two Nazareths.

The other is the only remaining Arab city in Israel.

Previously a majority Christian city, Arab immigration post '48 shuffled the deck and a 2009 census puts the Muslim - Christian split at 70 - 30.

This other Nazareth weeps at the lack of jobs for its frustrated youth. It offers dark corners and alleyways to family feuding, often ending in violence.  Poorly lit streets house drunken teenagers with little to do.

There are two Nazareths.

This, the impression of an outsider, can only be as accurate as the small window of time in which it was experienced.

Go. See its beauty and its hardship. Come back and tell me how many Nazareths you see.

Carpentry dates way back in Nazareth. Beautiful carvings, all hand made

In the tiny carpentry shop
Inside the famous White Mosque (it's only white on the outside)

The awesomest spice shop ever, 3 small rooms, dried fruits, infinite spices and all the machinery next door

At the spice shop

The White Mosque indoor courtyard

In the courtyard of the White Mosque

Roman ruins inside a coffee shop

Entrance to the Church of the Annunciation

Church of the Annunciation - the massive outdoor area

Church of the Annunciation - the entrance to the church

Church of the Annunciation - inside

Church of the Annunciation - inside

Recently uncovered ruins

In the old market

In the old market

A view of Nazareth - many steps were climbed to bring you this picture

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