Bible and archaeology news
After centuries of neglect, the ancient and dilapidated roof of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity will finally undergo renovation next year. The roof of the 1,500-year-old church built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian in the sixth century C.E. has long been in a state of disrepair, with the last major repairs having been undertaken more than 150 years ago. While the leaky roof long ago ruined many of the church’s priceless mosaics and paintings, of more immediate concern are the roof’s ancient wooden beams, which have begun to pose a danger to the more than 2 million tourists who visit the site each year. The renovation will be carried out and funded by the Palestinian Authority, which is hoping the basilica will soon be recognized and supported by UNESCO, the culture arm of the United Nations, as a world heritage site.
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