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Milk Grotto, Jerusalem

Milk Grotto, Jerusalem

The Chapel of Milk Grotto, otherwise known as the Grotto of Our Lady or simply the Milk Grotto, is a major Christian landmark in Bethlehem, situated not far from the Church of the Nativity. This cave-chapel, erected in 1872, is believed to be the site where the Holy Family – Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus – found refuge after the nativity, and where Mary rested while nursing baby Jesus during the Massacre of the Innocents (murder of all infant boys ordered by King Herod) prior to fleeing into Egypt.

According to a legend, a drop of Mary's breast milk fell on the cave's floor and whitened the stone. For ages, ever since the Byzantine era, this tiny 5x10-meter grotto has been a favored pilgrimage destination for women of various religions seeking intercession of the Blessed Virgin, be it for a gift of offspring for those childless women who have trouble conceiving, or the mothers looking to increase their milk supply. Many believe that a visit here aids with both, especially if the powdery white chalk from the cave is mixed into food. The inner walls of the chapel are covered with letters from the past pilgrims.

This site has been venerated since the 4th century. In the 5th century, a Byzantine church was built over the grotto and, in the 7th century, pieces of its stone walls were sent to churches around Europe. In 1375, the Milk Grotto was recognized by Pope Gregory XI, and, in 1872, the Franciscan Brothers built here a basilica with a courtyard featuring remnants of a colorful mosaic floor from the Byzantine chapel. In 1935, a flat sculpture was added to the chapel’s facade, and, in 2007, a modern chapel was erected alongside the site connected by a tunnel.

Opening Hours:
Summer (April – September): Every day from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. & 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Winter (October – March): Every day from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. & 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Jerusalem, Israel within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Milk Grotto on Map

Sight Name: Milk Grotto
Sight Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Jerusalem, Israel

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Creating your own self-guided walk in Jerusalem is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
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Mount Zion Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
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Christian Quarter Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
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Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles

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