Despite being in the midst of much-needed renovations, Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity is still a big Christmas attraction for visitors from around the world. What secrets will the "Old Lady" reveal, once her treasures have been exposed?
Recent violence sparked by US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has put a damper on Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem. Still, scores of people took part in Christmas Eve festivities.
For Christians, Bethlehem is a pilgrimage site, but its inhabitants live in fear of rising political tensions after President Donald Trump announced that the US will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The arrival of Greek Patriarch Theophilos III in Bethlehem was the center of a protest against church land sales to Jewish groups. Some townships had called for a boycott of the midnight mass attended by the patriarch.
Security measures were heightened across Europe and beyond as Christians prepared to celebrate Christmas Eve in the shadow of terrorism. Germany's capital, Berlin, was particularly on edge after last week's truck attack.
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