Religious Sites Bethlehem
Milk Grotto Chapel Bethlehem
The Milk Grotto Chapel is located at the southeast corner of the Church of the Nativity and just a few minutes’ walk from the Manger Square. This religious site is revered by Christian and Muslim pilgrims alike. This grotto is considered holy because, according to tradition, this is the exact place where Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus took refuge during the slaying of the infants by King Herod’s men. The Holy Family stayed here before their escape to Egypt.
During the 5th century, a church was built on the place and the remains of this ancient temple are still visible in the Milk Grotto Chapel today which includes the geometrical crosses and patterns and the mosaic pieces on the terrace of the grotto. The Milk Grotto was built by the Franciscan order in 1872.
Christians and Muslims believe that the grotto is miraculous as scrapings from its white stones are said to enhance fertility and a mother’s milk. According to tradition while in hiding, Mary nursed her infant in the same place and drops of her milk flowed on the ground, turning it into white. This is why the grotto is made out of soft white rock.
The grotto features a unique painting of the Virgin Mary nursing her child, mother-of pearl ornaments engraved on the walls and wall mosaics.
Accessible to handicapped and senior guests
8:00 AM to 6:00 PM (summer)
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (winter)