There were also some other old empty tombs down in the cave, but I don't know the explanation behind them.
This next picture is a little weird and I'm not quite sure what to think about it. There at Manger Square they also have the Chapel of the Innocents that is built in memory of all the male children that were killed under Herod's order. Underneath, there is a cave with empty tombs and several rooms full of bones. I don't think most people know about this place because you can only get into it through a locked gate. But my friend Sahar, who is from Bethlehem, knows the monks well enough there to ask for the key. So we went down there and sure enough, lots of bones. Some were very small, clearly belonging to children. Others were more adult sized. I guess the story is that the adult bones belong to the mothers who refused to hand over their babies, so they were also killed. How's that for a lovely story? If it makes you feel better, I really doubt that's what these bones are from. But it still definitely made me stop and think about what it would have been like for those families back then. I can't imagine someone coming into my house and killing Jackson just because of the cowardice and fear of a higher governmental authority. :(
This last picture is of one of "Solomon's Pools" just outside of Bethlehem. There are three of these huge pools, and they get their name from a scripture about Solomon building pools to provide water. But most scholars agree that they are more likely to date back to Herod the Great. He had these pools built to channel water into Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and one of his palaces. The water was utilized through a very sophisticated aqueduct system. They channeled the water clear up until sometime in the 40's, so it has been a major source of water supply for centuries. After that, they became a recreational spot where people would go swimming. But I am sad to say that they are all dried up. Fences have been built up all around them, and garbage is collecting. I took this picture through one of the holes in a chain link fence. From what I hear, this area used to be absolutely beautiful. Now it's a weird left-over existence of what once was. I searched the internet for a long time in an effort to find more information, but I couldn't find anything current. I would love to know the reasoning behind blocking it all off.