Church of Nativity, Bethlehem.
The basilica is the oldest major church in the Holy Land and the grotto in the church is recognized as the oldest site continuously used as a place of worship in Christianity. The church that stands today was built in 530 by Roman empror Justinain.
The Grotto of Nativity
The altar and star of nativity mark the exact spot where Jesus was believed to have been born. The 14-pointed silver star is encased in a marble floor. Assorted icons, paintings, crosses and lamps decorate the grotto, each left behind by a different time period and nationality.
The star was stolen in 1846 and started the conflict between France and Russia that evolved into the Crimean war.
Shrine of Milk Grotto
According to tradition, while Mary and Joseph were fleeing Herod’s soldiers on their way to Egypt, they stopped in this cave while Mary nursed the baby Jesus. A drop of Mary’s milk fell upon the stone and it turned white.