Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth
Its presence dominating the city, the Basilica of the Annunciation, maintained by the Franciscan Order, is the largest in the Middle East. The modern structure, consecrated on 23 March 1969, and designed by the architect Giovanni Muzio, consists of two levels.
The lower church contains the grotto which, tradition holds, was the home of Mary and the Site of the Annunciation, along with remnants of churches from the Crusader and Byzantine eras.
The important, archaeological site, which includes the church and surrounding buildings, verifies this is in fact the location of the original village of Nazareth. The Franciscan Museum, within the church, preserves finds from the excavations.
The upper church, which serves as the local Roman Catholic parish church, is crowned by the stunning and majestic 170 foot high cupola through which natural light flows to illuminate the entire interior.
Magnificent mosaics, works of art and ceramic reliefs (banners) contributed by Roman Catholic communities from around the world adorn the vast interior, while an imposing Italian designed mosaic adorns the altar. Outside, a courtyard connects to the Church of St. Joseph's Carpentry.