The Baptismal Site (Bethany beyond the Jordan)
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Make a Pilgrimage to Bethany beyond the Jordan
Amid a desolate sweep of scrubby plains, nudged next to the border with Israel and the Palestinian Territories, is one of Jordan's most important holy sites. This is where, most scholars agree, John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ and where, definitely, a Byzantine era pilgrimage center sprung up during the 5th century to commemorate this act. The ruins here cover a large area, and visitors must take the site's guided tour (included in the ticket price). It shuttles you to the scattered remnants of churches, monasteries, and chapels, including the excavated site that is thought to be the location of Jesus' baptism. The tour also visits the bank of the Jordan River (which is more of an underwhelming stream than the mighty river you imagine) where you can immerse yourself in the water and look over to the rival Israeli version of Bethany on the opposite bank, just a few meters away.
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