Concert of the Italian Band : The Sun

Visitor Information Center – Bethlehem would like to announce that the concert of the Italian band ‘The Sun’ will take place on the 9th of April 2014 on the Manger Square in Bethlehem at 7 pm.

The concert is free but the reservation is necessary. Please reserve by calling at 0569785025. The entrance will be possible only with a ticket. The tickets will be distributed in the VIC office (next to Bethlehem Municipality) from Monday 7th of April till Wednesday 9th of April from 2 pm till 4 pm.

Visit the official page of the band: http://www.thesun.it/biografia-english/

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20th Artas Lettuce Festival 2014

Visitor Information Center – Bethlehem has a pleasure to inform you about the 20th Artas Lettuce Festival which will take place in Artas village located just next to Bethlehem on the 12th of April 2014.

Artas Olive Groves

“Located at a crossroads of ecosystems and civilizations, this lovely village just to the south of Bethlehem is particularly rich in archeological remains and is steeped in traditions and folklore of successive civilizations. Come follow in the footsteps of the legendary men and women who have been drawn to Artas, making it one of the best documented villages in Palestine.” – Leyla Zuaiter.

Artas Lettuce Festival will be a ‘moving festival’ which will feature a short hike through the village with special stations with cultural program. The meeting point will be at Qalet el-Murad – an old Ottoman fortress – at 9:00 am, setting off at 9:30 am passing by Solomon Pools, Water Channels, Pine Forest, Khirbet Khoh, Wadi Artas reaching the village of Artas and its abundant spring, where the villagers will wait for the participants with a special performance of a traditional Palestinian wedding. There will be as well a possibility of picking up your own fresh lettuce from the field! Women from Artas will also prepare delicious stuffed breads that could be enjoyed on the way.

For reservations and prices contact the Artas Folklore Centre – call Fadi 0599679492 or Maram 0598490340 or write to the VIC at vicbethlehem@gmail.com

How to get there?

Artas is located just next to the Solomon Pools area. Take a collective taxi for 3 NIS per person from in front of the Bus Station (Bethlehem City Center) in Bethlehem and ask to go to Dhesieh. Often a driver, when asked could take you a bit further to the area of the Solomon Pools – the place where all events will start or take place. In case the distance between Dhesieh and Solomon pools is walkable. There is also secure parking near the Solomon’s Pools.

Monastery of the Hortus Conclusus in the Background of the Artas Village

Pictures of Artas taken by Fadi Sanad - the coordinator of the event and the representative of the Artas Cultural Center. Contact Fadi at 0599679492 (Arabic) to learn more about the festival.

Visitor Information Center wishes you a great time during the festival!

Events in Bethlehem – April 2014

  • 3rd of April (Thursday) - Organ and Baritone Concert on Thursday at 6 PM at the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church Bethlehem – Al Madbaseh Square. Free Entry
  • 10th of April (Thursday) – Intercultural concert Music builds bridges on Thursday at 6.00 PM in Dar Annadwa, Bethlehem – Al Madbaseh Square. Tickets: 10 NIS only
  • 11th of April (Friday) – Palestine Marathon – more info: here
  • 12th of April (Saturday) – Artas Lettuce Festival – more info: here

Bethlehem Handicraft Platform

Bethlehem is particularly known for its specialty in traditional artisanal handicrafts.  Traditional crafts in Palestine go back to the early Thirteenth century, and nowadays, after centuries, the traditional crafts are still alive, counting olive wood hand-made products, mother-of-pearl, ceramics, candles, embroidery and olive oil soap.

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Today, these handicrafts represent an important source of income for the city that welcomes thousands of tourists who come to visit the holy places. In June 2013, in order to keep the traditions alive and to protect Bethlehem patrimony, Bethlehem Handicraft Platform was founded. It is a forum that represents the wider handicraft sectors in Bethlehem, in the framework of a development project led by VIS – Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo, an Italian NGO, and financed by the Provincia Autonoma di Trento, a province in the North of Italy.

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The aim of the platform is to enhance the handicraft sector and strengthen the synergies between the actors in the Bethlehem area for the creation of a handicraft district. Moreover, to safeguard the integrity and the quality of the traditional items, the Platform watches carefully all the aspect of the production, from the raw materials to the quality controls. All the products are all hand made using genuine local raw materials, and they are certified by the Made in Bethlehem Logo, issued by the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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The collection of the Platform includes various elements, as olivewood, mother of pearl and ceramic products, realized by the Salesian Artistic Centre and the Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative; olive oil soap produced by Aseela; candles from Oasis Workshop; Ma’an Lil-Hayat wool-felted items and traditional embroidery from the Bethlehem Arab Women’s Union and Women Child’s Care Society.

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For tours and information contact Bethlehem Handicraft Platform Tel: +972-0598-911-552 Email: bethlehem.handicraft@gmail.com

Text prepared by Bethlehem Handicraft Platform. Pictures are parts of the item catalogue.

Special Thanks to the Palestine Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Visitor Information Center in Bethlehem, a project of John Paul II Foundation, would like to express a gratitude towards the Palestine Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities for providing us with beautiful Christmas promotional and informational materials. And among which are: “Christmas Season Schedule of Events 2013-2014″; brochures about various sites of interest located in the area of Bethlehem, bookmarks with the image of the Grotto of the Nativity and a calendar for year 2014; and the most important Certificates of Pilgrimage.

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We are glad to distribute those materials in the Visitor Information Center – Bethlehem!

Every person visiting Bethlehem during the Christmas Season will be able to receive an official:

WRIT OF PILGRIMAGE

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Be it known that —— journeyed to the ancient and holy city of Bethlehem and stayed in its hotels for the celebration of Christmas in the year 2013 – 2014, at —— and with this gratitude of the “living Stone” of Palestine, may bear the title of CHRISTMAS PILGRIM heartier. - Minister of Tourism and Antiquities – Rula Ma’ayah

Christmas in Bethlehem – Shuttle Bus

Bethlehem Municipality has organized a free shuttle bus to help everyone who would like to join the Christmas Celebrations on the Manger Square :-)

The shuttle buses are expected to work:
* on the 1st of December from 3 pm until 9 pm
* on the 24th of December from 9 am till 9 pm

Pick up points are:
- *DCO through Beit Jala Municipality Square -> drop off at the Bus Station very close to the Manger Square and the Nativity Church.
- *Checkpoint 300 -> drop off at the Bus Station
- Nissan Roundabout -> drop off at the Bus Station
- Beit Sahour Market Square -> drop off at the Bus Station

DCO is the entrance to Beit Jala, it can be reached with the bus #21 from Jerusalem, which can be taken from the Damascus Gate Bus Station. (cost: 7.3 NIS)

Checkpoint 300 is the military crossing between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. It can be reached with the bus #24 from Jerusalem, which can be taken from the Damascus Gate Bus Station. (cost 5.5 NIS)

*** Please carry your travel document with you – it will be requested at the checkpoint on your way back to Jerusalem ***

In case of any questions, please do not hesitate to ask VIC: vicbethlehem@gmail.com

Bethlehem Shuttle Bus

Christmas Events in Bethlehem – January 2014

Christmas in Bethlehem

Visitor Information Center would like to present a schedule for Orthodox and Armenian Christmas Eve and list of Christmas events for January 2014 in Bethlehem – the Capital of Christmas :-)

03/01 – Friday:

  • 19.00 – Jesus King Choir in the Convention Palace (next to Solomon Pools – Artas) free entrance

05/01 – Sunday:

  • 11.30 Solemn Entry of the Custos, Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM
  • 13.45 First Vespers
  • 14.45 Procession to the Grotto of the Nativity
  • 15.30 Compieta and second procession to the Grotto of the Nativity

 06/01 – Monday (Latin Feast of Epiphany; Greek Orthodox and Oriental Christmas Eve) The times might be not exact.

  • 4.30 – Coptic Mass at the Armenian Altar of the Nativity
  • 8.30 – The Syrian Archbishop arrives at Manger Square
  • 10.00  - The Coptic Archbishop arrives at Manger Square
  • 10.00 – Pontifical High Mass by his Paternity the Custos of the Holy Land at St. Catherine Church (Epiphany Feast)
  • 12.45 – H.B. the Greek Patriarch arrives at Manger Square (Vespers, Liturgy ends at 15.30)
  • 13.00 – Syrian first Liturgy and Exaltation of the Holy Cross in The Grotto
  • 14.30 – Coptic Vespers
  • 15.00 – Syrian Vespers
  • 15.00 – Latin Religious Procession from St. Catherine Church to the Grotto of the Nativity
  • 22.30 – Greek Matins
  • 22.40 – Syrian Mid-Night and morning official Order Prayers
  • 23.00 – Coptic Mid-Night and morning official Order Prayers
  • 00.00 – Greek Orthodox Christmas Eve Service in the Nativity Church, ends at 3.30 am (no tickets required)

18/01 – Saturday:

  • 11.00 – Reception of his Beatitude the Armenian Patriarch at the Manger Square
  • 23.40 – Christmas Mass for the Armenian in the Church of the Nativity