It’s now a large town spread out over the hills, for no reason except that it was the home town of Jesus. Once nearly 80% Christian, it’s now 80% Muslim.
The church and the sites are beautiful, and the cobbled streets and stone buildings are pale sandstone, very attractive. Right outside the Basilica in what is meant to be an attractive garden leading up to the church are protest sites where a huge mosque was meant to be built, right next to the Basilica, and blocking all views of it.
So if pilgrims come up from the main street, they are confronted by these ugly green banners with Koranic sayings in English and Arabic, that sneer at the Annunciation.
I’d wondered why the tour guide took us up a side street and into the basilica.
The basilica is modern, having been destroyed repeatedly by Muslim marauders, it was rebuilt as a modern basilica.
Inside and around the courtyard are depictions from around the world of Our Lady in different cultures and Shrines.