New Pilgrimage following the Footsteps of the Virgin Mary

Nazareth: Statue of the Virgin Mary

Nazareth: Statue of the Virgin Mary

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January 11, 2011

As part of the Tourism Ministry’s activities to promote Christian tourism to Israel and develop the Christian holy sites, a new pilgrimage itinerary entitled “In the Footsteps of the Virgin Mary” will be inaugurated today Tuesday, January 11, 2011.

The new itinerary In the Footsteps of the Virgin Mary offers pilgrims tours and activities in addition to the classic pilgrimages in the Footsteps of Jesus. The itinerary includes visits to the places where the Virgin Mary lived and traveled with Jesus, including, among others, her birthplace Zippori in Galilee; Nazareth where pilgrims can visit Mary’s Well from which Mary drank and provided water for the Holy Family, as well as the Mary of Nazareth International Center; Elijah’s Cave which Christian tradition identifies as the place where the Holy Family rested on its way back from Egypt; Ein Karem, the birthplace of St. John the Baptist, which Mary visited together with her cousin Elizabeth while they were both pregnant and Abu Ghosh with the Church of Notre Dame de l’Arche de l’Alliance. Along the itinerary, tourists and pilgrims will also find workshops related to ceramics, agriculture, traditional cooking and weaving.

The itinerary is presented in a new booklet published as part of the activities of the Tourism Ministry to promote pilgrimage tourism to Israel. The booklet will be translated into different languages.

Catholic tourism is the largest segment of incoming Christian tourism to Israel. In 2010, 3.45 million tourists visited Israel, of whom 69% were Christian, with more than half Catholic.

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