Bethlehem is famous for its olivewood handicrafts, which include different crosses & crucifixes, rosaries, jewelry, tableware, pens & deskware, magnets, nativity sets, figurines, ornaments, kitchenware, boxes, and plaques. Holy Land Olivewood, continues to practice this traditional craft, and produces exquisite handicrafts that are known for their contrasting wood grains and high quality finish. All of our handicrafts are handmade in the Holy Land by local artisans, using only the finest Bethlehem olive wood and traditional methods that have been practiced for generations. Holy Land Olive wood is unique because all of our handicrafts come with a Certificate of Authenticity and are backed up with a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee.
The tradition of making the handicrafts began in the 4th century CE under Byzantine rule in Bethlehem — which continues to be the main city that produces the craft — following the construction of the Church of the Nativity. Greek Orthodox monks taught local residents how to carve olive wood. The art developed and became a major industry in Bethlehem and nearby towns in the 16th and 17th centuries when Italian and Franciscan artisans on pilgrimage to the area — by now under the rule of the Ottomans — taught the residents how to carve. Since then the tradition has been passed on generation by generation and is dominated by the descendants of the original local carvers.