Bethlehem (Arabic: بيت لحم‎ Bayt Laḥm or Bēt Laḥm, lit "House of Meat"; Hebrew: בֵּית לֶחֶם‎ Bēṯ Leḥem, Bet Leḥem, lit "House of Bread;" Greek: Βηθλεὲμ, Vithleém) is a city located in the central West Bank, neighboring south Jerusalem, with a population of about 25,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority. The economy is primarily tourist-driven.

The Hebrew Bible identifies Bethlehem as the city David was from and the location where he was crowned as the king of Israel. The New Testament identifies Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. The town is inhabited by one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, although the size of the community has shrunk due to emigration.

The city was sacked by the Samaritans in 529, but rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. Bethlehem was conquered by the Arab Caliphate of 'Umar ibn al-Khattāb in 637, who guaranteed safety for the city's religious shrines. In 1099, Crusaders captured and fortified Bethlehem and replaced its Greek Orthodox clergy with a Latin one. The Latin clergy were expelled after the city was captured by Saladin, the sultan of Egypt and Syria. With the coming of the Mamluks in 1250, the city's walls were demolished, and were subsequently rebuilt during the rule of the Ottoman Empire.

The British wrested control of the city from the Ottomans during World War I and it was to be included in an international zone under the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. Jordan annexed the city in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Since 1995, Bethlehem has been governed by the Palestinian National Authority.

Bethlehem has a Muslim majority, but is also home to one of the largest Palestinian Christian communities. Bethlehem's chief economic sector is tourism which peaks during the Christmas season when Christian pilgrims throng to the Church of the Nativity. Bethlehem has over thirty hotels and three hundred handicraft work shops. Rachel's Tomb, an important Jewish holy site, is located at the northern entrance of Bethlehem.

Read more about Bethlehem:  Geography, Climate, Economy, Tourism, Local Government, Education, Transportation, Twin Towns — Sister Cities

Other articles related to "bethlehem":

List Of Twin Towns And Sister Cities In The Palestinian Territories - Bethlehem
... Bethlehem is twinned with Marrickville, Australia Steyr, Austria Natal, Brazil Valinhos, Brazil Třebechovice pod Orebem, Czech Republic Villa Alemana, Chile Concepción, Chile Chartres, France Grenoble ...
Christian Renatus Von Zinzendorf - Historical Perspective
... documents remain in either in the major Moravian archives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania or Herrnhut, Germany ... a birthday festival was held in his honor in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, based on eighteenth-century sources and sponsored by the Historic Bethlehem Partnership ...
Star Of Bethlehem (painting)
... The Star of Bethlehem is a painting in watercolour by Sir Edward Burne-Jones depicting the Adoration of the Magi with an angel holding the star of Bethlehem ... At 101 1/8 x 152 inches, The Star of Bethlehem was the largest watercolour of the 19th century ...
Syro-Palestinian Archaeology - Archaeology in The West Bank - Notable Findings and Sites - Bethlehem
... that it had initiated procedures to add Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity to the UNESCO World Heritage List ...
Bethlehem, Kentucky
... Bethlehem is an unincorporated community in Henry County, Kentucky, United States ... Bethlehem is best known for its annual Living Nativity, celebrated on December 22-25 ... The event is a collaborative effort of three local Christian churches (Bethlehem Baptist, Bethlehem Methodist, and Point Pleasant Christian) ...

Famous quotes containing the word bethlehem:

    twenty centuries of stony sleep
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    Shall I tell you who will come
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    Who will kneel them gently down
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    The stars which shone over Babylon and the stable in Bethlehem still shine as brightly over the Empire State Building and your front yard today. They perform their cycles with the same mathematical precision, and they will continue to affect each thing on earth, including man, as long as the earth exists.
    Linda Goodman (b. 1929)