'Bethlehem 2000' was a joint initiative between UNESCO, the Palestinian Authority and the municipality of Bethlehem to restore the old town and Manger Square (which had become a parking lot), regenerating tourism and pilgrimage to this beleaguered town at the heart of the millennium celebrations.
|'Ottoman' Farahiya Street|
One of the many projects was to research and establish a walking trail from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Sadly, shortly after the trail was inaugurated in 1998 the second intifada, with subsequent closures and checkpoints, made the trail almost impossible to walk. In 2009 it was revived with a modified route to avoid settlement areas, military zones, new roads and other obstacles.
Instrumental in this was George.
|My favourite view of Manger Square|
He told me "....walking the Nativity Trail is an epic biblical journey through a landscape little changed in 2000 years. In the north green hills, ancient churches, families tending their fields and olive groves. In the south desert, Bedouins and spectacular monasteries. Accommodation is provided at family homes in villages along the way - Palestinian home cooking...."
From that moment it was only going to be a matter of, when?