Jordan is an ideal destination for those seeking cultural knowledge and spiritual enrichment. Visitors can walk through the valleys, hills and plains that become part of human history by virtue of the simple deeds and profound messages of prophets who walked the land and crossed its rivers during their lives. Read on to discover some of the most renowned religious sites across Jordan.
Bethany Beyond the Jordan
The site of John the Baptist's settlement at Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where Jesus was baptized, has long been known from the Bible (John 1:28 and 10:40) and from the Byzantine and medieval texts.
Mount Nebo became a place of pilgrimage for early Christians from Jerusalem and a small church was built there in the 4th century to commemorate the end of Moses' life. Some of the stones from that church remain in their original place in the wall around the apse area.
It is believed that Jesus Christ, his disciples, and the Virgin Mary, passed through Anjara once and rested in a cave there during a journey between the Sea of Galilee, the Decapolis cities, Bethany Beyond the Jordan and Jerusalem.
The 1st century AD Roman-Jewish historian, Josephus, identifies the awe-inspiring site of Mukawir (Machaerus) as the palace/fort of Herod, who was the Roman-appointed ruler over the region during the life of Jesus Christ.
Madaba and its hinterlands were repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament. Then it was known as Medeba and it featured in narratives related to Moses and the Exodus, David’s war against the Moabites, Isaiah’s oracle against Moab and King Mesha of Moab’s rebellion against Israel.
Dead Sea & Lot’s Cave
The Dead Sea is one of the most dramatic places on earth, with its stunning natural environment equally matched by its powerful spiritual symbolism. The infamous Sodom and Gomorrah and other cities of the Dead Sea plain, or (Cities of the Valley) were the subjects of some of the most dramatic and enduring Old Testament stories, including that of Lot, whose wife was turned into a pillar of salt for disobeying God’s will.
Umm Ar-Rasas (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
This rectangular walled city, about 30km southeast of Madaba is mentioned on both, the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. It was fortified by the Romans and local Christians were still embellishing it with Byzantine-style mosaics well over 100 years after the start of the Muslim Umayyad rule.
Petra seems to be mentioned in the Bible’s Old Testament under several possible names, including Sela and Joktheel (2 Kings 14:7).
During the Exodus, Moses and the Israelites passed through the Petra area in Edom. Local tradition says that the spring at Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses), just outside Petra, is the place where Moses struck the rock and brought forth water (Numbers 20:10-11).