It turns out that Bethlehem is not as little as it used to be. It is a thriving town of commerce, mostly built on tourism and religion. But more of that later.
Today started with a visit to the Israel Museum. The museum has a large outdoor model of what Jerusalem was like in the first century, before the Romans sacked it in AD70. It really helped to get a sense of where everything was in relation to everything else, and to see just how much the Temple dominated. Jerusalem wasn't so much a city with a Temple inside, as a Temple with a city around it.
We set off again but by now it was lunch time so we stopped to have lunch at a gift shop. It turns out that tourism is big business in the town where Jesus was born, there was even a nativity set worth $35,000.Finally we arrived at Bethlehem itself and made our way to Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity. This is the oldest site continuously used as a place of Christian worship in the world - that is it has been a functioning church since 326AD. What's more, it claims to house the very place that Jesus was born. How anyone in 326 would know that is not explained, but it is treated with deep religious reverence. A steady stream of people came into the grotto to kiss the place where 'Jesus was born'. They then made a donation and were given a certificate to show that they had done it.