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St. Catherine's Church, Jerusalem

St. Catherine's Church, Jerusalem

St Catherine’s is a parish church within the Church of the Nativity compound in Bethlehem, and practically shares a wall with the Nativity Church. This chapel was built in 1882 as part of a Franciscan monastery, thanks to the funding provided by Austrian Emperor, thus expanding the previous St Catherine shrine that stood on this site since 1347. Both, the new church and the Franciscan monastery reveal architectural elements from different historic periods, namely: the 12th century Crusader Church and Charter House, as well as the 5th century Sanctuary of St Jerome once located here. In 1948, the church, and specifically its cloister, were redesigned and, in 2013, were expanded further to accommodate more worshipers.

The church is named after St Catherine, a 4th-century princess and scholar from the Egyptian city of Alexandria who adopted Christianity after witnessing the vision of the Virgin Mary and infant Jesus. Together with the underground caves, the church is one of the top attractions in Bethlehem and stands on the site where Jesus appeared before St Catherine and predicted her martyrdom.

Underneath the church there is a complex of caves which hold several shrines and ancient tombs. Among the buried here are St Paula, her daughter Eustochium, and St Jerome. The latter also spent time in these caves translating the Latin Bible into the vernacular language. The grottoes are connected to the adjacent Church of the Nativity via passageway.

In 2012, St Catherine's Church was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the "Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route in Bethlehem". It follows the Roman Rite and is currently administered by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Each year on the 24th of December, the church plays host to the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass broadcast live to millions of viewers worldwide.

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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St. Catherine's Church on Map

Sight Name: St. Catherine's Church
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.
Bethlehem Walking Tour

Bethlehem Walking Tour

For more than two millennia Bethlehem has been known to the world as the birthplace of Jesus Christ. The “star of Bethlehem” as well as Christmas carols and hymns are firmly associated with this ancient city in the West Bank, Palestine, and for some visitors the bustle of a modern city may come as a surprise. Undoubtedly, the main tourist attraction of Bethlehem is the Church of the Nativity,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Jerusalem City Gates Walking Tour

Jerusalem City Gates Walking Tour

Historians believe that the Old City of Jerusalem probably came into being more than 4,500 years ago. The defensive wall around the city features a number of gates, just as ancient, each of which is an attraction in its own right. Prophesies about some of these gates are written in the Bible and the Koran. This self-guided tour will lead you gate to gate through the Old City revealing mystery...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Mount Zion Walking Tour

Mount Zion Walking Tour

For those interested in religion and history, Mount Zion offers several unique sights that are situated in close proximity to each other. An important place for Christians, Jews as well as Muslims, it holds important constructions dating from the 20th century as well as the compound built by the Crusaders, marking the spot of King David's tomb as well as of the Room of the Last Supper.

In...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Following Steps of Jesus Walking Tour

Following Steps of Jesus Walking Tour

Considered for centuries to be the center of the universe, Jerusalem is where the most famous figure in the history of mankind, Jesus of Nazareth, fulfilled his divine mission. This self-guided tour will retrace the steps of Jesus, allowing you to see what many consider some of the holiest places on our planet.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Jerusalem Old City Walking Tour

Jerusalem Old City Walking Tour

The Old City of Jerusalem, the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, is a home to a number of sites of great religious importance, such as the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. Walking here is an experience not to be missed. Take this orientation walk to see the key sights of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Muslim Quarter & Temple Mount Tour

Muslim Quarter & Temple Mount Tour

The largest, most populous and perhaps most chaotic of all Jerusalem's quarters, the Muslim Quarter is worth exploring for its unique atmosphere. Spending a day here may take you back to a simpler time, but be prepared for many sights and sounds as you pass many vendors, stores and restaurants on your way from site to site.

Some of Jerusalem's most interesting city gates (Damascus and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

Modern day Jerusalem is a mosaic of neighborhoods, reflecting different historical periods, cultures, and religions. The influx of repatriates in recent years has made the cultural and artisanal scene of the city even more colourful and diverse. To find your way through Jerusalem's intricate...