User:Yoavd/photos/Church of the Visitation

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Jump to: navigation, search

The Church of the Visitation is the older of two churches located at Ein Karem, in present day Israel. Tradition attributes its construction to Empress Helena of Constantinople, Constantine I's mother, who identified the site as the home of Zechariah and the place where he and Elizabeth hid from Herod's soldiers.

Later, Christian Crusaders also recongnized it as the site where the meeting between Elizabeth and her cousin Mary took place, and erected a two-story church on the site of the ancient ruins. When the Crusaders left the Holy Land, the church fell into Muslim hands and gradually deteriorated.

An ancient cistern from which, according to tradition, Zechariah and Elizabeth drank, can also be found in the church; the stone next to it is said to have hid the two from Herod's soldiers. The upper hall is dedicated to Mary, and its walls are decorated with paintings in honor of her. Verses from the Magnificat are engraved on the columns of the church, and on the wall opposite it are forty-two ceramic tablets bearing verses from the Magnificat in forty-two different languages. On the church's facade is a striking mosaic commemorating the Visitation.