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New museum in Bethlehem celebrating the heritage of the Middle East

CCTV.com

03-30-2015 18:20 BJT

A new museum is about to open to the public, charting Bethlehem's history and culture as well as celebrating its geographical and spiritual significance.

The Bethlehem Museum façade, its doors finally opened to visitors after this 30-year-long vision came to life

A new museum is about to open to the public, charting Bethlehem's history and culture as well as celebrating its geographical and spiritual significance. 

A first century Roman aqueduct runs through the museum, unearthed during the building's construction. This aqueduct was used to carry water from Hebron to Jerusalem through Bethlehem, and was built between the years 26 AD and 36 AD.

"The most important thing about this Roman aqueduct, it is now renovated in the Bethlehem museum and it is the only section that is well renovated and preserved and also open for the public and for the pilgrims to see the beauty of this Roman aqueduct and how Bethlehem was a connection between the south and Jerusalem, how Bethlehem was a main source for transferring water, transferring life," said Anthony Habash, regional director of Holy Christian Ecumenical Foundation.

Johnny Adonieh’s icons on display alongside an olive-wood replica of the Nativity Church

Johnny Adonieh’s icons on display alongside an olive-wood replica of the Nativity Church

The exhibition also features a bible that was published in Mosul, Iraq in 1875. The bible, written in Arabic, has both historical and spiritual value.

"This holy bible is one of the most important pieces that we have in the museum, it has historical and spiritual value. This is a proof evident that Arab Christians were in Iraq, and this bible was sent from Iraq in 1875 to Palestine to be used among churches and it was preserved (by) one of the Bethlehemite families," Habash said.

The museum also has on display pottery, glass, paintings, icons, olive wood carvings and mother of pearl artifacts.

It hopes to draw in the younger generations - high school and university students - to raise awareness about the heritage and culture of their ancestors and also about the duty that the young have in preserving this heritage.

The museum will officially open April 1.

The ancient Roman aqueduct runs through the Museum passing many treasured objects including this traditional dress and headdress, proudly on display

The ancient Roman aqueduct runs through the Museum passing many treasured objects including this traditional dress and headdress, proudly on display.

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