>  Places to visit in the West Bank   >  the Milk Grotto, Bethlehem

milk-grottoLocated in an alley 500 feet from the Church of Nativity, the Milk Grotto is marked by local tradition as where Mary Joseph and baby Jesus hid after his birth. Furthermore, while taking refuge in the cave, Mary breastfed Jesus. A drop of her milk on the floor turned the cave’s interior white. Although this event is not documented in the New Testament, the milk grotto is a popular pilgrimage destination, venerated since the 4th century. Ancient sources record pilgrims chipping pieces of the cave’s interior to cherish as sacred souvenirs, and some sent to churches across the Byzantine Empire.

In 1872, the Franciscans erected a church inside the irregular-shaped cave, which was further developed in 2007. According to centuries-old tradition, Christian and even Muslim women who want to conceive visit the cave and pray for Mary. Some will scrape off the Cave’s whitish chalk and put it under their pillow. Women who breastfeed will also dissolve and drink the white powder in water.

A visit to the Milk Grotto can be combined with a tour of Bethlehem.

Contact us to inquire more about a private tour that will include a visit to the Milk Grotto:

    Related Tours