You will be collected form your hotel after lunch to follow in the footsteps of Moses and Jesus as you head to the Baptism Site of Jesus Christ in Bethany Beyond Jordan, which is located very close to the Lowest Place on Earth the Dead Sea.
Our first stop is the Christian town of Madaba, known as the City of Mosaics. Here you will visit the oldest map of the Holy Land on the floor of Saint George’s Church. The map dates from the 6th Century and was made up of over 2 million pieces of mosaic and covered the whole of the Holy Land, from the Nile Delta to what is now modern day Syria.
The map was crafted so the early Pilgrim Travellers could negotiate their way round the pilgrim sites as they made their pilgrimages and travels. Madaba, or Medeba in antiquity, is awash with Byzantine mosaic in both public and private buildings. In fact it is not uncommon for local houses to feature mosaic floors dating back to the 6th Century. Whilst you are in the Christian town of Madaba you will also visit the Archaeological Park and the Apostles church.
After a short 10 min drive west you will arrive at Mount Nebo, the alleged burial site of Moses and from where he first glimpsed the Promised Land. A land he was forbidden to enter by God. The custodians of Mount Nebo are the Franciscan Brothers who maintain the site and its wonderful mosaics. A simple church structure has been built to protect the 4th and 6th Century Byzantine church and probably the finest mosaic in the whole of Jordan.
As you stand looking west over the Dead Sea and Jordan valley towards the Promised Land you will be experience exactly the same view Moses saw some 4,000 years ago. It was here that His Holiness Pope John Paul II stood, raised his arms, looked towards the heavens and prayed for Peace in the Holy Land during his Millennium visit to Jordan.
Leaving Mount Nebo you will drive through the most fantastic Biblical Landscape, as you head towards Bethany Beyond Jordan.
On arrival in Bethany Beyond Jordan you will check-in to the Russian Orthodox Pilgrim Hotel where you will spend the night.
Having spent the night in the hotel, that is situated in what was essentially the Wilderness, probably close to where Jesus spent his 40 days and nights being tempted by Satan you will be ready to visit the Baptism Site.
For Christians Bethany Beyond Jordan is probably the most significant pilgrim site in the world. Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, the opening of the heavens and the arrival of the Holy Spirit is the very beginning of Christianity. John was baptizing in the river Jordan close to Beit 'Abara, where Joshua, Elijah and Elisha crossed the river and very close to where Elijah ascended into heaven.
In New Testament times, it became known as Bethany, the village of John the Baptist. This Bethany is not to be confused with the village of Bethany near Jerusalem, where the Bible says Lazarus was raised from the dead. The Bible clearly records that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3: 13-17), and that John the Baptist lived, preached and baptized in the village of Bethany, on "the other side of the Jordan" (John 1: 28). The baptism site, known in Arabic as al-Maghtas, is located at the head of a lush valley just east of the Jordan River. After Jesus' baptism at Bethany, he spent forty days in the wilderness east of the River Jordan, where he fasted and resisted the temptations of Satan (Mark 1: 13, Matthew 4: 1-11).
On arrival in Bethany you will visit the upper site of Elijah’s Hill, the Hermit Caves and the Baptismal pools. After lunch you will visit the lower site of the Jordan River and the spot where Jesus was baptized.
You will then be transferred to your hotel.