Bethlehem/Shepards of the Field
The Mosque of Omar is the only mosque in the Old City of Bethlehem, located on the west side of Manger Square, across the square from the Church of the Nativity. The mosque is named after Omar (Umar) ibn al-Khattab (c. 581–644), the second Rashidun Muslim Caliph. Having conquered Jerusalem, Omar had travelled to Bethlehem in 637 CE to issue a law that would guarantee respect for the shrine and safety for Christians and clergy. Only four years after the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, Omar allegedly prayed at the location of the mosque. The current mosque was built in 1860, and was renovated in 1955, during Jordanian control of the city.
The Church of the Nativity, also Basilica of the Nativity is a basilica located in Bethlehem in the Palestinian West Bank. The Armenian monastery (right) and facade of the Church of the Nativity (left, small). The grotto it contains holds a prominent religious significance to Christians of various denominations as the birthplace of Jesus. The original basilica was completed sometime between 333 and 339. It was destroyed by fire during the Samaritan revolts of the sixth century, and a new basilica was built in 565 by Byzantine Emperor Justinian, who restored the architectural tone of the original. The Church of the Nativity, while remaining basically unchanged since the Justinian reconstruction, has seen numerous repairs and additions, especially from the Crusader period, such as two bell towers (now gone), wall mosaics and paintings (partially preserved). Over the centuries, the surrounding compound has been expanded, and today it covers approximately 12,000 square meters, comprising three different monasteries: one Greek Orthodox, one Armenian Apostolic, and one Roman Catholic, of which the first two contain bell towers built during the modern era.