The Wise Men followed a star to find Jesus’ birthplace. You can use an app.
The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, built on the believed-site of the son of God’s birth, is so inundated with tourists that owners have decided to try to calm crowds with an app, the AFP reports.
This tech miracle is scheduled to launch early next year and will be in English. Visitors making pilgrimages to the former place where a manger lay will be able to schedule visiting times in advance. There was no room at the inn for Mary and Joseph. Now, there’s no room in the manger: Currently, travelers wait hours to be able to enter the grotto where it once was.
This year, sites in Bethlehem are seeing record numbers of tourists. The Palestinian Tourism Ministry reports 2.8 million people came to visit their territories this year, up 300,000 from last year.
Currently, three Churches control the holy site: The Catholic church, the Greek Orthodox church and the Armenian church. Orthodox priest Issa Thaljieh told the AFP that, “There are times when for us there are specific prayers, celebrations, or masses, or with all the sects praying. So, of course, there is a huge squeeze. With the app, everyone will know what time to enter and which groups are there, so it will become more organized.”
BTW: If you can’t make the trip and are planning to reenact the famous scene yourself this Christmas, make sure the costume is appropriate. One little boy accidentally brought a sex-toy sheep to school as part of his shepherd costume.
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