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Al-Maghtas

Al-Maghtas is one of the most important biblical relics that can be found on the entire courses of the Jordan River. It is located close to the Israel-Jordan border on the extreme eastern edge of Jordan. It slowly becomes the popular place of a pilgrimage site for Christians. Papas often visit this place, especially for the last two decades. Al-Maghtas is supposed to have been the original site of the baptism of Jesus. You will be able to see an interesting array of Jewish and Christian religious monuments, Roman buildings and constructions, and also Orthodox monasteries.

  • Jordan is one of only two Arab nations to have made peace with Israel.
  • In Jordan, it’s considered polite to refuse a meal three times before accepting it.
  • Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken among the middle and upper classes.
  • It’s considered rude and unclean to eat or drink with your left hand.
  • Jordan is home to many biblical sites such as the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Mount Nebo where Moses died.
  • The adults in Jordan believe overpraising a child will bring bad luck so this gesture from a parent to a kid is often avoided.
  • The dominant religion in Jordan is Sunni Islam. There’s also a Christian minority.
  • The most common tree in Jordan is the olive tree.
  • The Palestinian territory of the West Bank was once part of Jordan. Following the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948-49, the country annexed the West Bank – but lost it to Israel in the 1967 war

Tel Elias ruins. The shuttle bus makes a short stop at Tel Elias Hill, where the prophet Elijah ascended to heaven. This site is significant for the believers of the three Abrahamic religions, although there is little to see. On the site of the pilgrimage chapel of the 5th-6th century today there is an arch where in the spring of 2000 Pope John Paul II announced the sanctity of this place. The foundations of a square chapel next to it date back to the 3rd century. This is one of the earliest places of Christian worship, dating back to the days when the Christian religion was out of the law. The bus goes forward to the modern baptismal font with filtered water from the Jordan River (the river is heavily polluted).

Spring of John the Baptist. Then you will have to walk (very hot in summer, take a hat and some water) to the places where, according to the biblical tradition, John the Baptist performed baptism rites. The rites were more often performed in the sources of Wadi al-Harrar than in the Jordan River. The trail goes through thickets of tamarisk and argul (wild cherry), and in spring through clumps of yellow Jericho rose.

Baptism Site of Jesus ruins. The main archaeological site includes the remains of three churches. Steps lead down where once there was some water, and a building nearby marks the supposed site of Jesus’ Epiphany. In the 5th and 6th centuries, Byzantine churches were erected here, later they were rebuilt after a devastating flood. Only traces of the original mosaic have survived to this day.

River Jordan. The walking route follows a Greek Orthodox church with a golden dome and leads to the river, which has turned into something more than an ordinary ditch with stagnant water. Not a great idea, but you can still be baptized in the Jordan river if you are accompanied by a priest. On the other side of the river (and the border) there is a rival Israeli baptismal complex. This is the only place where civilians can touch Jordan, as there is a military demarcation line along the river.

 
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