Church of the Nativity

Department Archive
Collection Byzantine Research Fund
Reference No. BRF/02/03/01/046
Level Item
Place Bethlehem
Dates 1908
Creator Harvey, Mr William
Scope and Content Interior view of the north apse from the south. The photograph is annotated in pencil at the back. See also photos nos. 02/13/27/02 (BRFno. 02/03/01/45) and 02/13/27/04 (BRFno. 02/03/01/47).
Further information The church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, is a large five-aisled basilica with transept, narthex, a trefoil apse and two entrances leading to the cave of the Nativity.
It was built by Justinian I between 560 and 603/5 on the ruins of the first church which had been erected by Constantine I on the site of the cave of the Nativity. The building was decorated with lavish mosaics by Manuel I Komnenos with the contribution of the Latin King and the Bishop of Jerusalem according to the text of the dedicatory inscription which also names a certain Ephraim as the mosaicist. The rare theme of the Ecumenical Councils decorates the side aisles.