Al-Maghtas

المغطس

( Al-Maghtas )

Al-Maghtas (Arabic: المغطس, meaning "baptism" or "immersion"), officially known as Baptism Site "Bethany Beyond the Jordan", is an archaeological World Heritage site in Jordan, on the east bank of the Jordan River, considered to be the original location of the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist and venerated as such since at least the Byzantine period. The place has also been referred to as Bethabara (Hebrew: בית עברה) and historically Bethany (Beyond the Jordan).

Al-Maghtas includes two principal archaeological areas: the remnants of a monastery on a mound known as Jabal Mar-Elias (Elijah's Hill) and an area close to the river with remains of churches, baptism ponds and pilgrim and hermit dwellings. The two areas are connected by a stream called Wadi Kharrar.

The strategic location between Jerusalem and the King's Highway is already evident from the Book of Joshua repo...Read more

Al-Maghtas (Arabic: المغطس, meaning "baptism" or "immersion"), officially known as Baptism Site "Bethany Beyond the Jordan", is an archaeological World Heritage site in Jordan, on the east bank of the Jordan River, considered to be the original location of the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist and venerated as such since at least the Byzantine period. The place has also been referred to as Bethabara (Hebrew: בית עברה) and historically Bethany (Beyond the Jordan).

Al-Maghtas includes two principal archaeological areas: the remnants of a monastery on a mound known as Jabal Mar-Elias (Elijah's Hill) and an area close to the river with remains of churches, baptism ponds and pilgrim and hermit dwellings. The two areas are connected by a stream called Wadi Kharrar.

The strategic location between Jerusalem and the King's Highway is already evident from the Book of Joshua report about the Israelites crossing the Jordan there. Jabal Mar-Elias is traditionally identified as the site of the ascension of the prophet Elijah to heaven. The complete area was abandoned after the 1967 Six-Day War, when both banks of the Jordan became part of the frontline. The area was heavily mined then.

After the signing of the Israel–Jordan peace treaty in 1994, de-mining of the area soon took place at the initiative of Jordanian Prince Ghazi. The site has since then seen several archaeological digs, visits by three Popes (John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis) and by many heads of state, and attracts tourists and pilgrimage activity. In 2015, the site was designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, excluding the western side of the river. Approximately 81,000 people visited the site in 2016, mostly European, American, and Arab tourists. Thousands flock to the site on January 6 to mark Epiphany.

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