From AP, via ABC News:
As visitors descend upon Bethlehem this holiday season, they will notice a different look for the Church of the Nativity. Wrapped in scaffolding, the basilica located at the traditional site of Jesus’ birth is undergoing a much-needed facelift after 600 years.
Experts say that water is leaking from the rooftop and threatens to cause serious damage to mosaics and other priceless items. Project manager Afif Tweme said the first stage of the project began in September and is addressing the most pressing issues: the rooftop and windows.
“The water also has a bad effect on the plastering surfaces, on the mosaics, on the floors, on the frescoes…” said Tweme, who works for the “Community Development Group,” a Palestinian engineering consulting firm.
… Standing above the grotto where, according to tradition, Jesus was born, the church attracted more than 2 million visitors last year. But the building, with remnants up to 1,500 years old, has been neglected for decades.
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