Jerome came to this holy site and lived in a cave (next door) for some years whilst he translated the old and new testaments into Latin.
Of course a newer church (see next post) has been built over the site, this time by the Roman Catholics who lost their interest in the Church of the Nativity during the Ottoman Empire. To get access meant more underground passages [note to self: remember to duck whilst taking pictures].
Reputed to have been the place where the angel told Joseph to take the Holy Family to Egypt, And where some of the first-born sons killed by Herod were buried.
There is a ‘secret’ passageway back into the crypt of the Church of the Nativity so that Christians could access the nativity sites when Herodius closed the church itself.