Yardenit is an important spot situated on the banks of the Jordan River at the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee. Each year, the site is visited by over half a million tourists and pilgrims who come to experience the waters in which Jesus was said to have been baptized by John the Baptist. Some even participate in a baptism ceremony themselves, which is a very holy and spiritual experience.

History and significance

The entrance to Yardenit is a long archway with Mark’s account of the baptism of Jesus depicted on hand-painted tiles in over 80 languages, known as the Wall of New Life. It says:

“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove, and a voice came from heaven; ‘Thou art my beloved Son, with thee I am well pleased.” Mark 1:9-11

Baptisms at Yardenit

The Jordan River is a significant religious site mentioned numerous times in both the Old and New Testaments. The actual biblical place where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist is believed to be in Jordan, on the east bank of the river opposite Jericho, at Wadi Al-Kharrar, identified as Bethany Beyond the Jordan. This is where John lived and was himself baptized, and where Jesus fled to for safety after being threatened with stoning in Jerusalem.

Until the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, the area was a Jordanian military zone. After clearing the surrounding minefields, the Jordanian government made the site accessible to archaeologists, pilgrims and tourists. Jordan’s new Baptism Archaeological Park contains the remains of a Byzantine-era monastery featuring at least four churches, one of which is built around a cave believed to be the one that ancient pilgrims called “the cave of John the Baptist”. During the years that the Jordanian location was inaccessible, a site commemorating Christ’s baptism was established at Yardenit in Israel.

Getting to Yardenit

Public transport: There are several options to get from Tel Aviv to Yardenit using public transport. The best option and route depends on the time and day you wish to go. It is best to check the various public transport websites close to your desired departure, or enquire at the central bus station in your departure city.

Take a tour: Visiting Yardenit is uncomplicated and enjoyable as part of our Sea of Galilee tour. We also offer a host of other group and private tours that include Yardenit.

Visiting Yardenit

Otters and fish swim freely in the water, which is closely monitored for quality and safety. Entering the waters is easy with several direct stairways with handrails. Yardenit is fully equipped with changing rooms, baptism robes for rental or purchase, a restaurant, and large souvenir shop. Opening hours are:

Summer: March – November

Saturday – Thursday:   8:00am till 18:00pm (Baptism Ceremonies until 17:00pm)

Friday: 8:00am till 16:00pm (Baptism Ceremonies until 15:00pm)

Winter: December  – February

Saturday – Thursday:   8:00am till 18:00 pm (Baptism Ceremonies until 16:00pm)

Friday: 8:00am till 16:00pm (Baptism Ceremonies until 15:00pm)

Baptism can always be done up to 1 hour prior to closing.

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