Luke 2:11 NIV Bible ‘For unto you is born this day in the city of David [Bethlehem] a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’
- Bethlehem is a religious city located in Palestine, in the West Bank, in the Middle East, and it has a large proportion of Christians and also Muslims.
- ‘Bethlehem’ is also known as ‘Bēt Lahm’, ‘Beit Sahur’, ‘Ephratah’ and ‘the City of David’, as well as many other names, and the name has at least two different meanings – in Hebrew, ‘house of bread’ and in Arabic, ‘house of meat’.
- Bethlehem is the city of Jesus Christ’s birth, and is one of the oldest Christian settlements.
- The first known reference of Bethlehem is in a 1400 BC dated letter, involving the King of Egypt and King of Jerusalem of the era.
- Bethlehem has seen much unrest in its history, with opponents taking over the city a number of times, and it was occupied by the Romans in 132 AD, and later Muslims from 637 AD.
Image courtesy of David Poe/Flickr
- Conflict between Israel and Palestine has been evident for a century and so the control of Bethlehem was in Israel’s hands for some time, however the city has been governed by the Palestinian National Authority since 1995.
- Bethlehem has a population of approximately 25,000 people, and a fifth of those live in the original area of the city, known as the ‘old city’.
- Temperatures in Bethlehem range, on average from 5 to 30°C (41 to 86°F), and June to September are generally dry months, while November to January are generally the wettest.
- Bethlehem accommodates approximately 2 million tourists annually, with the industry supplying 65% of the city’s wealth.
- Bethlehem saw its first female mayor in 2012, Vera Baboun, who was previously a headmistress and lecturer, and is the home of 135 schools, 100 of which are government schools operated by the Palestine Authority.