Visiting Bethany Beyond The Jordan, Jordan’s Most Significant Christian Site

Many tourists coming to Jordan are eager to explore its rich Christian history, and a visit to Bethany Beyond the Jordan is the best place to discover this heritage. Thought to be the baptismal site of Jesus Christ, Bethany Beyond the Jordan is the number one place for Christians to visit in the Kingdom of Jordan. Bethany not only serves as an archeological treasure dating back to the 1st century CE, but as a significant pilgrimage site as well. Christians come to retrace the biblical steps of where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Bethany is toured by millions of visitors annually, and it was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. Join our in-depth Bethany Tour for an incredible experience.

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Where Is Bethany Beyond The Jordan Located?

bethany beyond the jordan

Situated on the eastern bank of the Jordan River and 9 kilometers north of the Dead Sea, lies the baptismal site of Bethany. These grounds are also within reach of other biblical destinations, like Madaba, Mount Nebo and the King’s Highway. The ancient road between Jerusalem and the Transjordan – which was once imperative for trade routes – connects other proximal biblical sites.

History Of Bethany Beyond The Jordan

Historians and archaeologists have claimed Bethany as the place where John the Baptist once lived, preached, and baptized Jesus of Nazareth. There is no way to know exactly when the famous baptism took place, but it’s estimated at around 30 CE, during the beginning of his ministry. Most Christian denominations accept these archeological findings and evidential claims. Agriculturists from the Copper Age (around 3500 BC), once dwelled here too, making it an intriguing destination for tourists of different backgrounds to discover.

Additionally, the site contains aspects of a Jewish ritual bath (mikveh), from the Second Temple period, rendering it a significant location for Jewish historicity as well as Christian. Both religions engage in ritualistic practices where immersion is seen as a symbol of purification, and Bethany’s tranquil waters served this function for both faiths.

churches at the baptismal site bethany beyond the jordan

A Byzantine monastery was constructed here in the 5th Century and later the first church was built. After flooding and an earthquake, the structure was destroyed and despite several reconstructions over time, by the onset of the 6th Century, the visitation to the site had moved across the river on the western side, which today lies in the West Bank  – Qasr el Yahud.

It wasn’t until 1994 that the Israel-Jordan peace treaty was signed, which allowed for tourism to flourish once again on both sides of the narrow Jordan River. Archaeological excavations safely resumed, as well as the conservation and important restoration of the site. What followed was a resurgence of Christian pilgrimages, and in 2000, Pope John Paul II became the first papal to visit Bethany Beyond the Jordan. Today, the site remains a calm and serene setting and a model of peace between the nations where visitors of all faiths can come and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.

How To Visit Bethany Beyond The Jordan by Car

Since there is no way to reach the site with public transport, renting a car in Jordan is one of the most convenient ways to explore Bethany and the surrounding areas. With over one hundred car rental companies based in Amman alone, visitors will never be short of options. There are a number of car rental companies located at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman where most international planes fly into. Visitors should expect to pay around 25-30 JD (35-40 USD) per day for a new model with air conditioning and insurance. A car journey from Amman to Bethany Beyond the Jordan usually takes a little more than an hour.

With Our Tours

Save yourself the hassle of coming up with your own itinerary, as we can do it for you on our tried and tested Bethany Beyond the Jordan Tour from Amman! An experienced guide will lead you through the site’s history and offer valuable insight as well as secrets of the past on your exclusive visit. Another exciting tour to join is our 3 Day Northern Jordan Tour which includes a stop at Bethany Beyond the Jordan, among other remarkable destinations.

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In And Around Bethany Beyond The Jordan

While Bethany consists mainly of ancient churches, archeological findings, and holy waters, there is still plenty more to see near the site. Just a few kilometers south, you’ll find the brilliant Dead Sea and not too much farther, Madaba – known for its stunning mosaics. We offer an in-depth Madaba & Mount Nebo Tour from Amman, which guarantees visits to all surrounding locations.

byzantine Mosaics in Madaba

What To Know Before You Go

It’s important to know that this is a religious site which deserves a great deal of respect. To appreciate and contribute to its peaceful atmosphere, know what to wear and refrain from raucous behavior, as many visitors come here on a personal pilgrimage to pray, reflect, and connect spiritually.

Bethany Beyond the Jordan is a site of immense historic, cultural, and religious significance, and is well worth the visit. Revered by Christians, admired by archeologists, and well-documented by historians, Bethany remains a formidable site with layers of survival, treasures, and restorative glory. See all of its wonders on this one-day tour which leaves from Amman.

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