BETHLEHEM

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BETHLEHEM ; the birthplace of David and Christ; a village, formerly a town, in Palestine, a part of Syria, in the pachalic of Damascus, five miles from Jerusalem, at the foot of a hill covered with vines and olivetrees, which, however, is not the mount of Olives mentioned in the Bible. An aqueduct conveys water from the hill to the village. It has 300 houses, and 2400 Greek and Armenian inhabitants, who make wooden rosaries and crucifixes, inlaid with mother of pearl, for pilgrims ; also excellent white wine. In a rich grotto, furnished with silver and ciystal lamps, under the choir of the church of a convent in this village, a trough of marble is shown, which is said to be the manger in which Jesus was laid after his birth. There are three convents there, for Catholics, Greeks and Ar menians. The greatest ornament of the place is the .stately church erected by the empress Helena over the place where Christ is said to have been born, and bearing her name. It is built in the form of a cross, and the top commands a fine view over the surrounding country. Several spots mentioned in the Bible are shown there.