Theodoric 1172

Libellus de locis sanctis

The German monk Theodoric visited the Holy Land in 1172, drafting a valuable travel report with precise indications about Nazareth.
In his description, he located the Grotto in an apse of the left aisle, as effectively demonstrated by Viaud’s excavations. Theodoric records alterations in the complex of the Grotto: instead of the two accesses remembered by Daniel, he spoke of a single entrance staircase with 15 steps. This information suggests that at a certain point the Crusaders restricted the passage to the Grotto to a single entrance, probably that to the west. The alteration may have been the result of the construction of the vaulted room where the pilgrims remembered the birth of the Virgin Mary. This room is probably the one that was later called the "Chapel of the Angel."
The description of Theodoric largely corresponds to what Quaresmi said in 1639 about the organisation of the areas of the Grotto.

« The most glorious city of Nazareth stands four miles to the west of Mount Tabor, on the road for Acco. A venerated church is built there, renowned for the honour of being a bishop’s seat and for the dedication made to the Holy Virgin Mary. In this church, in the left apse, you go down about fifteen steps to an underground grotto where towards the east, a small cross is indicated at the bottom of a deep altar, where (the incarnation) of Christ was annunciated to the Virgin Mary by Archangel Gabriel. Towards the left part of the altar, i.e. to the north, Joseph her husband, or the Saviour’s nurturer, lies buried; an altar has been positioned on top of the (burial). Moreover, to the south on the right, there is a place with a cross imprinted into the ground and arched on the top: here the Blessed Mother of God was born from Anna, her mother. »

Unofficial translation of an extract from: Itineraria Hierosilymitana Crucesignatorum, Vol. II, by Sabino de Sandoli, Jerusalem 1983, chapter XLVII, pp. 380-381