$100 million expansion planned for Jordan River site of Jesus’ baptism

Syrian Christian Zuhair Al-Sahawi immerses his hand in water at the Bethany Beyond the Jordan baptismal site on the east bank of the Jordan River in Jordan, June 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)
Syrian Christian Zuhair Al-Sahawi immerses his hand in water at the Bethany Beyond the Jordan baptismal site on the east bank of the Jordan River in Jordan, June 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

Jordan announces a $100 million project to expand the facilities at the Jordan River site venerated as the place where Jesus was baptized.

The “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” site lies on the river’s east bank, opposite Qasr al-Yahud on the Israeli side, a major destination for Christian pilgrims.

The project aims to attract 1 million visitors in 2030, celebrating the second millennium of Jesus’s baptism by John the Baptist, according to Religion News Service.

“We decided on a biblical village theme that attempts to re-create a 2,000-year-old experience,” Samir Murad, chair of the project, tells RNS.

He says accommodation will be upscale Arab-style tents, and food will be based on plants mentioned in the Bible.

“The idea is to create an atmosphere like that of the Old City of Jerusalem,” Murad adds.

The project is not yet funded.

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