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Located in the heart of the Middle East, with Syria to the north, Iraq to the east, Saudi Arabia to the southeast, and the West Bank to the west, Jordan is home to several holy sites.
The most important Christian site is Bethany “Bethany beyond the Jordan”, the site of Jesus’ baptism, which is east of Jordan River, as confirmed by the visit of Pope John Paul II at the turn of the millennium.

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Jordan River

It is believed that at Jordan River, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ crossed.
The Bible says that after the death of Moses, God stopped the waters from flowing, allowing Joshua to lead his people across the river into Canaan (Joshua 3: 14-17).

It is also said that this took place opposite Jericho in Bethabara, or Beit ‘Abara (house of the crossing). This same place is believed to be the site where Prophets Elijah and Elisha parted the water and crossed miraculously to the east bank of Jordan River.

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Baptism Site

The Bible records that John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus Christ, lived, preached, and baptized in the village of Bethany, on “the other side of the Jordan” (John 1:28).

Located at the head of a lush valley just east of Jordan River, the baptism site is called in Arabic “Al Maghtas”, and it is said that John the Baptist, after Jesus’ baptism, spent 40 days of fasting, praying, and resistance from Satan’s temptation, in the wilderness east of Jordan River.

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Mukawer, one of Jordan’s undiscovered treasures, is about 40km southwest of Madaba. In this remarkable site lies Herod the Great ancient fortress of Machaerus.

It is believed that Salome danced for Herod Antipas, who presented her with the head of the Prophet John the Baptist to honor her wishes.

According to Matthew 14: 9-12, “The king was sad, but because of the promise he made in front of all his guests, he gave orders that her wish be granted. So he had John beheaded in prison. The head was brought in a plate to the girl, who took it to her mother.”
The fort is on a 700m high hill, which was built about 100 BCE.


Mount Nebo

Less than 10km west of Madaba, Mount Nebo has enormous significance to the Christian religion. It is a fascinating place; according to the Bible it is the same place where Moses was buried. On the presumed site where he was buried, a monastery was built, and just outside the building, there is an incredible Serpentine Cross, which represents Moses’ bronze serpent that was taken in the desert, and the cross represents Jesus when crucified. The little remains of churches, one of them “The Chapel of the Virgin” (Theotokos, Mother of God), have wonderful mosaics. One of them was signed by the craftsmen Soelos, Kaiomos, and Elijah.
These mosaics depict monastic pastime, hunters, and an assortment of animals.


The Sanctuary

The Roman Catholic Church at Anjara is an important local shrine that consists of a large church hall with a life-size wooden statue of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. The statue is located within a newly built dry stone “grotto”. The grotto indicates that Jesus and his disciples, including mother Mary and other women, passed through Anjara once and rested in a cave during a journey between Jerusalem and Galilee.


The Shrine of Elijah

Always reserved as a holy site, Listib and Saint Elijah hill (in Arabic “Tell Mar Elias”) are located northwest of Ajloun, which is 73km north of Amman. These twin sites have long been identified with Tishbe, which was mentioned in the Bible as the hometown or region of Prophet Elijah. It is mentioned in the Bible that Prophet Elijah was a Toshbite from the village Toshibe. (1 Kings 17:1; 21:17; 2 Kings 1:3,8).


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