The fountain of the Virgin and the St. Gabriel
Along the road heading north, in the direction of Cana, there is the "Fountain of the Virgin", much loved by the Nazareth people, who for centuries have seen the women of the village, armed with posts, collect water, in the tradition of Mary.
This monumental fountain received the water from a spring around 160 metres further north, alongside the mount “Gebel es-Sik”. Today three water outlets are closed, and after many centuries the fountain has lost its function as a meeting place for the local people.
In ancient times the fountain was probably placed just outside the centre of the village, while for a few centuries the spring is enclosed in an underground chapel decorated with trilobate arches, inside the Greek orthodox church of Saint Gabriel, built to the north west of the fountain. For the Greek Orthodox, this is the church in memory of the Annunciation. And thus the followers call it simply "The house of Mary".
Remembered as far back as the 12th century, the church is amply described by the Russian abbot Daniel: «Then we left this town and went a little way to the north east where we found a wonderful well which was deep and very cold, and to reach the water you must go deep down on a stairway. And above this well there is a church dedicated to the Archangel Gabriel, and it is round». The local tradition is based on the Protogospel of James, who splits the announcement of the angel into two sequences: the first at the well where the Virgin cam to collect water, and the second, canonical, in the house: «And she took the cup and went out to fill it with water. Suddenly, a voice said to her, "Rejoice, blessed one. The Lord is with you. You are blessed among women." And Mary looked around to the right and the left to see where this voice came from. And trembling she went into her house. Setting down the cup, she took the purple thread and sat down on the chair and spun it. Suddenly, an angel stood before her saying, "Do not be afraid Mary. You have found grace before the Lord of all. You will conceive from his word." The Greek Orthodox Church of "Saint Gabriel" was built in 1767 on the ruins of a previous medieval church.