Church of the Nativity. Photo courtesy of

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world and the oldest standing church in the Holy Land. Its construction was initiated by Helen, the mother of Constantine I. That structure was burnt down in the Samaritan Revolt of 529 and rebuilt in its present form in 565 by Justinian I.

Inside the church are an ancient mosaic floor and the “Birth Cave” with a star marking the spot where tradition holds that Jesus was born.