Bethany Beyond the Jordan | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Bethany Beyond the Jordan

Megilot Yam HaMelakh Regional Council, Area C, Palestinian Territories

About Bethany Beyond the Jordan

Bethany Beyond the Jordan (al-Maghtas) is considered one of the holiest of Christian sites, it being the officially recognised site where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. It is also where Elijah is believed to have ascended to heaven and where Mary the Egyptian is believed to have lived as well as the place through which the Israelites are thought to have crossed into the Holy Land for the first time.

Archaeologists began to properly excavate Bethany Beyond the Jordan in 1994 after a peace treaty between Jordan and Israel. Through studies of locations mentioned in the Bible, medieval travellers’ descriptions, and local knowledge about the place of dipping, archaeologists unearthed this sacred spot.

The sites at Bethany Beyond the Jordan include many ancient baptism pools, churches, caves and wells, mostly dating to the fifth and sixth centuries AD and the remains of which can be toured today. Visitors can enter the baptism waters of the River Jordan, see Elijah’s Hill and explore the Visitor Centre.