Bethlehem is a Palestinian city located in the central West Bank, neighboring south Jerusalem, with a population of about 25,000 people.The Hebrew Bible identifies Bethlehem as the city of David. The New Testament identifies Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. The town is inhabited by one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, although the size of the community has shrunk due to emigration.The city is located 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) south of Jerusalem.In the center of Bethlehem is its old city. The old city consists of eight quarters, laid out in a mosaic style, forming the area around the Manger Square. The quarters include the Christian an-Najajreh, al-Farahiyeh, al-Anatreh, al-Tarajmeh, al-Qawawsa and Hreizat quarters and al-Fawaghreh — the only Muslim quarter.
Bethlehem has a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers and cold winters. Winter temperatures (mid-December to mid-March) can be cold and rainy. January is the coldest month, with temperatures ranging from 1 to 13 degree Celsius (33–55 °F). From May through September, the weather is warm and sunny. August is the hottest month, with a high of 30 degrees Celsius (81 °F). Bethlehem receives an average of 700 millimeters (28 in) of rainfall annually, 70% between November and January.
Bethlehem's average annual relative humidity is 60% and reaches its highest rates between January and February. Humidity levels are at their lowest in May. Night dew may occur in up to 180 days per year. The city is influenced by the Mediterranean Sea breeze that occurs around mid-day. However, Bethlehem is affected also by annual waves of hot, dry, sandy and dust Khamaseen winds from the Arabian Desert, during April, May and mid-June.
Tourism is Bethlehem's main industry. More than 20% of the working population is employed in the industry.Tourism accounts for approximately 65% of the city's economy.The city has more than two million visitors every year.
The Church of the Nativity is one of Bethlehem's major tourist attractions and a magnet for Christian pilgrims. It stands in the center of the city — a part of the Manger Square — over a grotto or cave called the Holy Crypt, where Jesus supposedly was born. Nearby is the Milk Grotto where the Holy Family took refuge on their Flight to Egypt and next door is the cave where St. Jerome spent thirty years creating the Vulgate, the dominant Latin version of the Bible until the Reformation.
There are over thirty hotels in Bethlehem.Jacir Palace, built in 1910 near the church, is one of Bethlehem's most successful hotels and its oldest. It was closed down in 2000 due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but reopened in 2005 as the Jacir Palace Intercontinental at Bethlehem.