Mary’s Birthplace?

According to some traditions, Mary’s parents (Joachim and Anna) lived in the lovely hilltop city of Tzippor, aka Sepphoris. (Though others say they moved to Nazareth later, or that her mother joined family in Nazareth after her father’s death, and thus brought Mary with her. Still others say she was born and raised in Nazareth and Jerusalem.) There’s a Crusader church in Sepphoris, dedicated to St. Anna, that was built for pilgrims in honor of the tradition. It was built on top of the traditional site of Joachim and Anna’s house, which had been marked by an older Byzantine church of St. Anna. Today the ruins of the church are part of the Monastery of the Sisters of St. Anne, and can apparently be seen by visitors who ask for the key. Here it is with flowers. There’s also a basilica of St. Anna in Jerusalem, but that one’s in honor of Mary’s conception by her parents.

Sepphoris is just a short walk from Nazareth, and a lot of people think it’s logical that Joseph and Jesus worked there, since they were carpenters and builders of houses (tekton).

We know it was lovely from ancient literary references, but archeologists have also excavated it and found some very nice things. It’s now a tourist attraction in Israel, and from these pictures, that’s not surprising. The mosaics there are amazing.

This page has more pictures of Sepphoris, which give you a better idea of the lay of the land.

More good pictures of the mosaics and more pictures of the lay of the land.

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