Our unique collection of the hand-carved Olive Wood 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. Monks taught local residents how to carve olive wood. The art developed and became a major industry in Bethlehem. Since then the tradition has been passed on generation by generation and is dominated by the descendants of the original local carvers.
Today, the art continues to be a major source of income for Bethlehem’s Palestinian Christian residents. Our collection consists of crosses, boxes, picture frames, covers for historical and old books, candle holders, states, rosaries, urns, vases and Christmas ornaments as well as scenes of the Holy Family.