Bethany - the Baptism Site
Recent archaeological research has identified a site on the east bank of the River Jordan, close to the Dead Sea, as Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan, mentioned in the Gospel of St John, the place where John the Baptist lived and where he almost certainly baptised Jesus Christ. This low-lying area, closed off for many years as a military zone, was reopened in 1994 and a wealth of ancient sites have since been uncovered, including Byzantine churches, baptismal pools from Roman and Byzantine times and lodges for pilgrims. This is the Biblical Plains of Moab. The place where Jesus was baptised is no longer in the river itself, which used to have a much higher water level. Visit the remains of the 6th century Church of John the Baptist. Nearby is the new Greek Orthodox Church of the same name (below right), built in 2005. World Discovery can incorporate a visit to this evocative site on any of our tailor-made holidays to Jordan.
Pope Francis visited the site in 2014 (below left). In the summer of 2015 the Baptism Site was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.