Bethlehem is about five miles south of Jerusalem, on the Palestinian-controlled West Bank. The photo was taken in Manger Square at the entrance to the Church of the Nativity. Like the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Church of the Nativity was originally built under the supervision of Emperor Constantine's mother in 330 A.D. It is the traditional site of Jesus' birth, and the oldest continually operating church in Christendom.
You can see in the photo that the door has been partially blocked. This was done by the Crusaders, for defense and to prevent infidels from galloping proudly into the church on horseback. It is called the Gate of Humility. Everyone must bow and assume a humble pose in order to enter.
Inside, down several steps and under the altar, is a stone cave known as the Grotto of the Nativity where Jesus is thought to have been born. Near it is the Chapel of the Manger, traditionally the site where Jesus was laid by his mother. As at most holy sites, there were hundreds of jostling pilgrims. A major source of income in this land has always been visiting pilgrims. In that way, not much has changed in the past thousand years.
Go on to read about the Dome of the Rock
Source: www.SusanCAnthony.com, ©Susan C. Anthony