Updated: Sep 22, 2021
According to Jewish tradition, in this place, the Israelites, led by Joshua ben Nun, crossed the Jordan - after forty years of wandering in the desert. Another tradition claims that in this place, the prophet Elijah ascended in the heavenly storm. The Bible also tells of the Aramaean army minister who sought to cure his leprosy, who dipped seven times and was healed.
Christians believe this is the place where John baptized Jesus. Thus, it is one of the holiest sites for Christianity.
After the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel closed the entrance to the region, opening it only partially in the 1980s. The place was fully opened to pilgrims and tourists only in 2011. For this reason, most of the monasteries and churches in the area were abandoned. However, the road is still interesting. Some monasteries can be seen from the outside. Others can't be reached due to mines.
The first monastery on the right is Qasser Al-Yahud - "Palace of the Jews." The monastery was built on the ruins of an ancient Byzantine monastery from the sixth century AD - and is the only one that has continued to operate to this day.
The second building on the right is the Church of St. John the Baptist of the Franciscan Order, built-in 1956. In 2020, the Franciscan Order began to renovate the place.
On the other bank of the river is the Jordanian baptismal site, which was active and developed over time. So the two baptismal sites are really close to each other, and it is difficult to perceive that this is actually the borderline between Israel and Jordan.
💣 Pay attention! It is forbidden to get off the road leading to the baptismal site due to fear of mines.
🛂 It is forbidden to cross the river - this is the border with Jordan.
🚱 The waters of the Jordan are not fit for drinking.
🚻 There are toilets on site.
🎫 Entrance fee, according to the prices of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (free for Israel Pass and Matmon card owners).
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