A Little History
From the city of Bethlehem, Where Jesus was born, We bring you those works of art which contain the best religious figurines in artistic form that’s made of olive wood carvings.
The olive wood carving is a tradition that was introduced by the monks and priests, and later it was perfected by local carvers, and has been handed down from father to son for the last 700 years.
Those work of art are made from the trimmings of the Holy Land olive trees, which is an essential process for the health and proper growth of the trees.
There are absolutely no trees that are damaged in the process.
The olive wood has a unique beauty and quality that is not found in any other tree. The solidity, fixed color as a result of oil in the wood fibers, and the beauty of gradation, ripples, the differentiation of color lines, make it very beautiful and eye catching.
The olive wood carvings do not need much care since olive oil is naturally protecting them from corrosion and weather changes.
Now a day, there are over 600 families in the city of Bethlehem who still perfect this art, and depend on it as their main living income.
 
Carving the olive wood began in the city of Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the fourth century, following the building of the church of Nativity. The church of Nativity was built on the traditional birthplace of our savior, Jesus in the city of Bethlehem. As a way to spread Christianity, the monks taught the Christians how to carve the olive trees; since then, Christians have been carving the beautiful religious crafts from one generation to another. In the recent years, the Handicrafts trade has suffered a great deal of hardship due social, economic and political pressures. Because of the sharp decline in tourism and the diminishing numbers of artisans who left their traditional trade and immigrated due to difficult conditions in their homeland.

Based out of San Diego, CA, Bethlehem Handcrafts operates on behalf of Christian families in the Holy Land.  These families are currently facing an economic hardship that has caused many to relocate to more secure and stable places to live and work.  Hundreds of years ago the percentage of Christians in the Holy Land was 63%.  Today it is less than 2%!  If this hardship continues as it is now, we believe in a few years there will be no Christians left in the Holy Land.

For centuries, Bethlehem’s Christians have supported their families by carving Olive Wood religious art for visiting pilgrims.  However, the ongoing political conflict between two peoples, the separation wall that has been built by Israel has made the situation worse as it prevents pilgrims from reaching Bethlehem and prevents Christians from reaching Jerusalem to sell their art.  Adding to this, the number of pilgrims who visit the holy sites in Bethlehem is decreasing year after year which has negatively affected the economic situation in Bethlehem.

Our mission can only be a reality with your support.  Only with help can we provide some stability and keep a continued Christian presence in the Holy Land.  Feel free to browse our catalog of unique Olive Wood carvings.