Qasr Al Yahud is recognized as one of the sites where Jesus got baptised by John the Baptist in the Jordan River (Matthew, 3: 13-17). It is also referred to as the place where Eliyahu the prophet and where the Israelistes crossed the Jordan river to enter the land of Canaan.
This baptism site is part of the pilgrimage route which starts in Jerusalem and Beit Lehem, and continues all the way to the Dead Sea. This route also includes “The good Samaritan” site and Qumran national park, where the Qumran scrolls were discovered, and where John the Baptist, and probably Christ, studied .
The Baptism site is situated in between two regional councils of Israel: The Jordan Valley regional council, and the Dead Sea Megillot (scrolls) regional council, on the west bank of the Jordan river, about 10 Kilometers east of Hebron, and is maintained by the Israeli Parks and Nature authority.
In recent years, the Qasr Al Yahud park has gone through a 3 million shequel renovation, and its opening hours have been extended.
Next to the baptism site stands the monastery of John the baptist, which is called “Qasr Al Yahud“ (the palace of the jews) due to its beautiful structure.
The “lazy river” has been known as a religious sign which symbols the transfer from nomadic life to permanent settlement. Its isolation and mystical character have always attracted social leaders who challanged the official and religious rule. This was true for Eliyahu the prophet, his student Elisha, and John the Baptist.
Most of all, this baptism site is recognized as the place where John the baptist baptized Jesus.
The New Testament mentions this event as the “spiritual birth” of Jesus, thus making it the third holiest site for christians in the Holy land.
The Jordan River is regarded as a holy place thanks to it being where Jesus baptized. During the 1980's a number of christian groups have re-started the baptizing tradition in the Jordan River. The ceremonies are traditionally held during two holidays: Easter and the Epiphany holiday.
"This site is loaded with historical, religious and emotional meanings for millions around the world, and has great touristic potential.” - Said Tourism minister Stas Misezhnikov - “The Israel ministry of tourism encourages worldwide religious tourism both Jewish and Christian, and with proper and focused promotion - this site is to be an international attraction and pilgrimage site.”
The way from highway 90 to the baptism site and south, passes through what is known as “the monastery land”, which is filled with monasteries dated back to the 4th century. When the rule in the Holy Land was Turkish rule – which was harder, these monasteries became sanctuary for pilgrims, but as soon as the Turkish rule in the holy land started supporting pilgrims, the monasteries were abandoned. During the British rule on the Holy Land - when personal security terms in the area got better - tourism to Jericho and the area started building up, and new monasteries were built.
Visiting the “Monastery land” and baptism site has to be coordinated with the Israeli parks and nature authority by fax: +972-2-9947815.
The baptism site is open to the crowd - free of charge – on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9 AM and 1 PM.
Guided tours (for a fee) may be coordinated with the Israeli parks and nature authority by telephone: +972-2-6541255.
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