I have been talking about Jordan and its Holy Sites for a while ever since my very first trip there. Every time I go back, I fall more in love with this tiny country and its friendly people, no matter if I travel to Jordan for adventure or in this case to visit the holy sites.
Now that I have returned several times, I see more and more special interest opportunities to share with you.
For anyone interested in the history of religion, visiting the country of Jordan is a must.
Jordan Holy Land – Breathtaking Sacred Sites Bringing Biblical Stories to Life
Jordan is a part of the region called the Holy Land and includes some of the oldest Christian communities. Jordan teems with breathtaking sacred sites that attract people from all over the world.
From the location where Jesus was said to have been baptized to Herod’s palace, Jordan’s many well-preserved holy sites bring biblical stories to life, preserving ancient history in the landscape and architecture.
Jordan Holy Land: 1. Mount Nebo
According to tradition, Mount Nebo is the mountain where Moses stood and looked down at the panorama of the Holy Land and where he was supposedly buried.
Today, visitors can ascend the mountain and see what the Bible would refer to as the Promised Land. Because this mountain’s connection to the Moses story, it is a prominent place of Christian pilgrimage.
Recent excavations on Mount Nebo have uncovered the remains of a church dating from the 4th century AD, which contains spectacular Byzantine mosaics.
Jordan Holy Land: 2. Beyond the Jordan
Also known as Al-Maghtas, Bethany Beyond the Jordan is the site on the eastern bank of the River Jordan where Jesus was to have been baptized by John the Baptist around 29 AD.
Nearby is Jabar Mar-Elias, or Elijah’s Hill, believed to be the place where the prophet Elijah ascended to heaven after having stopped the River Jordan’s waters in order to cross over to the eastern side.
The area contains the remains of ancient churches and chapels, as well as pools in which John the Baptist is said to have regularly performed baptisms.
Jordan Holy Land: 3. Machaerus
Machaerus is a hilltop fortress — purportedly the palace of Herod, King of Judea, during Jesus’s lifetime. This would have been where Salomé danced for Herod’s son, Herod Antipas, and where John the Baptist was later beheaded.
Standing on this hill, visitors can see stunning views of the Dead Sea and the West Bank.
Jordan Holy Land: 4. Umm Qais
Formerly the city of Gadara, Umm Qais overlooks the Sea of Galilee. This is where Jesus might have performed the Miracle of the Gadarene Swine.
One Biblical story states that upon meeting two men who lived in the tombs near the entrance of Gadara and who were possessed by demons, Jesus cast the demons out, channeling them into a herd of pigs. The pigs then ran off a cliff into the Sea of Galilee, where they drowned.
Today, Umm Qais offers spectacular views over the Sea of Galilee, the Yarmouk River, and the Golan Heights.
Jordan Holy Land: 5. Pella
Pella is a Decapolis city dating back to the Bronze Age where the Bible says that Jacob, brother of Esau wrestled with God in the form of an angel, who then deemed Jacob “Israel” because of his strength in battle.
Jacob named the city Penuel, meaning “the face of God.”
Recently, a temple was discovered at Pella, which is thought to be the Holy Land’s best-preserved temple from Old Testament times.
Jordan is more than a country to consider traveling for pretty views or interesting cultural experiences: Jordan is home to a variety of sites connected to Biblical stories and thought of as holy in many aspects. These five holy sites are just a few of the many available for exploration and adoration to individuals, groups or families traveling in Jordan.
With thanks for touring and insights from the Jordan Tourism Board North America.
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