Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Israel Welcomes Thousands to Site of Jesus' Baptism

Travelers, Christian pilgrims and religious leaders from around the world will visit the Qasr el Yahud holy site on the Jordan River to celebrate the annual Feast of the Epiphany, January 18, 2011.

The festival, which celebrates Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River as stated in the New Testament, also takes place at the site where the ancient Israelites crossed the Jordan River when entering Canaan, approximately 3,500-years-ago.

The site, which receives tens of thousands of visitors per year, is considered the third most important holy site for Christians. Qasr el Yahud has undergone renovations to improve access and navigability for travelers and is now open to individuals and groups 365 days per year.

However, because of its location on an international border, group baptisms are done at another location on the beautiful Sea of Galilee.

Families interested in a Christian themed itinerary can do their planning on the Israel Tourism website, which plans routes to all the country's many attractions so that visitors can experience their religious roots, if that is their interest.

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