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Baptism Site

Bethany-Beyond-The-Jordan
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Baptism Site

For Christians, the Baptism site at Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan is one of the most significant sites in the world. Standing amid a prepossessing sweep of scrubby plains and next to the sensitive border with Israel and the Palestinian Territories, this is the spot where John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ. It has been a pilgrimage center since the Byzantines built a church here in the 5th century.

The ruins are spread across a wide area. Tickets include a compulsory guided tour as well the shuttle bus that ferries you around. You are taken to the scattered remnants of churches, monasteries, and chapels, including the excavated site that is thought to be the location of Jesus' baptism and several modern churches belonging to different Christian traditions.

The highlight of the tour is visiting the bank of the Jordan River, although these days it is more of a stream than the mighty river of Biblical accounts. You can immerse yourself in the water or fill bottles from the font – unfortunately, due to pollution drinking it is not advised). On the opposite bank you can see pilgrims doing the same at the Israeli-run version in the Palestinian Territories.