The Jordan River, Qasr El Yahud, Baptism SiteDay Tours
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Qasr El Yahud is located on the western bank of Jorden River which is about 10km east of Jericho. It is under Israel’s occupation. It is administrated by the Israeli Civil Administration and is considered as a national park, also administrated as a tourist spot by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
Qasr El Yahud is known as the baptism site in Jordan river valley in the west bank. It is known as “the castle of the Jews”. It is considered a very special and sacred place for the western community (the Christians) and is known to be the third holiest site in the Christian world. It is referred to as the “Spiritual Birthplace of Jesus”, as according to traditions, Jesus was baptized at this place by “John the Baptist” about two thousand years ago. Christians from all over the world come here to be baptized in this Jorden River as it is of vital importance to them.
History of Qasr El Yahud According to the traditional views, this site was crossed by the Israeli children after wandering a long time for approximately 40 years in the desert. They crossed Jorden River and therefore, entered into this sacred place. Another traditional view regarding an event occurred in this site defines this place where Elijah’s ascension to heaven occurred in a fiery chariot right after Elisha and Elijah crossed the Jorden River.
A lot of visitors and pilgrims gathered at this sacred place which was under Jordanian’s authority till 1967 however in 1968, access to this sacred place was prohibited due to its location being too far away from the border fence of the military zone. Due to this situation, “Yardenit” that is at the south of the “Sea of Galilee”, was made as an alternative site for baptism.
Interesting Facts about Qasr El Yahud • This site was prohibited and closed in 1968 due to the 7 six-day war and being far away from the closed military zone. It was later reopened in 2011. • Its restoration project was accepted back in 2000, but it was open to the public in 2011 due to flooding in the region and second intifada. In 2000, when its project was accepted, Pope “John Paul II” did private worship here at this site. • Due to it being closed, tourists and visitors no longer could come due to which, causing less economic growth due to which, an alternative was developed known as” Sea of Galilee” like a baptism site.
How to Reach There? In order to get to Qasr El Yahud, you first have to take highway 1 to the east by the Jerico bypass road, then to the highway 90 on the north side, drive for about 2.5 km until you are reached to the grove, after that, turn to the east side, there you will find the board written “Qasr El Yahud.”
Timings The site is open daily, from 09:00, am to 05:00 pm except on Fridays, it closes earlier on 03:00 pm. The entry to this place is free and anyone can enter here for free. In winters, however, timings are different. The site opens at 08:00 am and closes at 03:00 pm and on Fridays, it closes at 02:00 pm. It is advisable to take a water bottle with you or drink plenty of water before you reach this destination in summers as it is one of the hottest places out there. Also, you should go to this site for approximately 1 hour before it closes.