03 July 2018
Israel more than Jordan attracts tourists with a biblical story
Representatives of the tourism industry in Jordan are puzzled by the fact that the kingdom can not attract tourists to its territory, for which the Christian heritage of the country is important.
First of all, we are talking about a place called al-Magtas. Here, as the Jordanians are sure, Jesus Christ was baptized.
As the newspaper The Jordan Times
notes, the place, which in the time of Jesus was known as Bethany Over the Jordan, is located on the eastern bank of the Jordan. According to the publication, this is confirmed by documents and archaeological finds. Here there were Roman popes and heads of state.
The newspaper quotes guides, according to which, Jordan is not perceived by tourists as a country with a Christian heritage. People go here to visit Petra. Those who are interested in the biblical story prefer Israel and the West Bank: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth.
"Jordan attracts those who are interested in history, archeology, nature, who wants to improve their health. Despite the fact that the royal way is passing through here that there was the Decapolis, we can not compete with the West Bank in regard to the biblical history of the" , - recognizes the tourism expert Yusuf Zareikat.
The publication notes that Israel as a whole is visiting significantly more tourists than Jordan, and the budget of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism is 10 times higher than Jordan. According to the newspaper, 56% of tourists visiting Israel, and there are places associated with the Old and New Testament.
Pilgrims from St. Petersburg on the site of Epiphany (Qasr El-Yahud).
Photo by Pavel Platonov
Recall: in 2011, Israel opened free access to Kasir al-Yahud, the place where Jesus received Baptism in the Israeli version. This caused outrage in Jordan. Members of the government and deputies accused Israel of forging and usurping the place of Baptism.
Jordanians claim that Bethany of Zaordan, located on the eastern bank of the river, was the true site of the Baptism of Jesus. They confirm their version with archaeological finds, such as a fragment of a column, which, according to the early Christian tradition, was installed on the site of the baptism of Jesus.
The Israelis are convinced that Jesus was immersed in the waters of the Jordan at Kasir al-Yahud, near the place where the Orthodox monastery of St. John the Baptist was later built. The distance between Kasir al-Yahud and Al-Magtas does not exceed ten meters.
It should be noted that most researchers of the early history of Christianity believe that the place of the Baptism of Jesus was located on the western bank of the Jordan. They remind us that of all the canonical texts of the New Testament, the place of Baptism is mentioned only in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, according to which "it was in Bethabara at the Jordan, in the place where John was baptizing" (John 1:28).
The village in question was called Beit Aavara - "The Place of the Crossing", and it was located in the area of the modern Allenby Bridge, near Jericho. About where he was, you can judge by the so-called "Madaba map" - a mosaic that adorned the church of St. George in Madaba, located on the territory of modern Jordan.
The stylized map of the Holy Land dates back to the middle of the sixth century AD. There is also a picture of the place of the confluence of the Jordan into the Dead Sea, as well as its environs, including Jericho and Beit-Aavara. The inscription next to the name of the settlement reads: "Bethawar of St. John, where Baptism took place." According to the map, Bethavar is on the west bank of the river.
In 1967, after the Six Day War, Jericho, as well as the whole of Judea and Samaria, passed under the control of Israel. Over the years, the border Kasir al-Yahud remained a closed military zone. Access there was opened only a few times a year.
However, on June 12, 2011, after the improvement made by the Ministry of Regional Cooperation and local authorities, access to the site of Baptism was freely available from the Israeli side. At the same time, all works were carried out with the knowledge of the Jordanian authorities.
In the 21st century, the distance between Kasir al-Yahud and Al-Magtas is about 10 meters. The river has repeatedly changed its course - it is now impossible to establish exactly where in the time of Jesus Christ was located the western, and where the eastern shore. It is unlikely that there will be complete clarity in the question of which side the Jesus Christ and John the Baptist entered into the river.
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