Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Sunday, 7 July 2024

Jordan: Plans under way to expand the Baptism Site

By Munir Bayouk/ :

Jordan has been classified as one of the major jewels in the world with regards to religious tourism in its capacity as part of the Holy Land. It prides itself for containing numerous Christian sites that religious tourists eagerly scramble to visit, so as to feel the aroma of holiness and beauty.


Among the major Christian sites is the Baptism Site which is located  on the eastern side of the River Jordan also known as Bethany Beyond the Jordan. This is the site where Lord Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist some 2,000 years ago.


The Baptism Site of Lord Jesus Christ has been an essential cornerstone for religious tourism to the Kingdom, bearing in mind that His Majesty King Abdullah II participated with Pope Benedict XVI on May 10, 2009, in laying the foundation stone for a church or rather the Cathedral of Baptism, to join its sisterly churches from various Churches in this holy site.


This holy site will witness the breakthrough of a great development in the near future following the launching of a plan to develop the lands adjacent to the Baptism Site in 2022 under Royal patronage. Press reports  have unveiled a master plan to expand Lord Jesus Christ's Baptism Site with Jordan launching a $300 million master plan to expand the area of Bethany Beyond the Jordan. This step  is expected to attract one million Christian pilgrims to celebrations of the second millennium of the baptism of Lord Jesus in 2030. The project accompanying the Bethany beyond Jordan, includes a "tourist village" and two major phases starting in 2023 and ending in 2030.

Further reports indicate that the development of the area will envision a biblical village with local restaurants, simple accommodations, and eateries serving local organic food options. The plan will be broken down into two parts and upon completion the area will include a three-star hotel, restaurants, shopping area, museum, wellness center, and a nature sanctuary.


Bethany Beyond the Jordan, which lies around 50 kilometers west of Amman, is mentioned in the Holy Bible, namely in the Gospel of John as the place where John the Baptist baptized Lord Jesus. Extensive excavations since the mid-1990s have unearthed ruins of churches, baptismal pools, and caves that show it was a Christian pilgrimage site as early as the 4th century.


Today, the Baptism Site, which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015, is an incredible place filled with immense biblical and historic importance, and the completion of the expansion project will certainly enrich the area even more.


 It is important to welcome Jordan’s plans to transform the Baptism Site into one of the world’s leading Christian pilgrimage and spiritual destinations. It is hoped that the expansion plans of the Baptism Site will be carried out soon, whereby pilgrims from across the global would bring much-needed revenues in Jordan.