Sacred Sites in Contested Regions

Yardenit, Upper Jordan River

Yardenit is a baptism site located on the north bank of the Jordan River in northern Israel. The site is located a few hundred meters south of the river's outlet from the Sea of Galilee, near Kibbutz Kvutzat Kinneret. According to long established Christian tradition, the baptism of Jesus actually was associated with Qasr al-Yahud / Bethany Beyond Jordan north of the Dead Sea and east of Jericho. For centuries, Qasr al Yahud and Bethany Beyond Jordan were the most important baptism sites for pilgrims. Following the geopolitical changes brought forth by the Six-Day War (1967) the area, located on the border between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, was declared a Closed Military Zone. As a result, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism decided to establish the Yardenit as a replacement site in 1981. This newly constructed site that is owned, constructed and managed by the Kibbutz' people i.e non-religious Jews! It represents an intriguing case in which the secular state and local entrepreneurs are orchestrating, accommodating and catering for the needs of Christian pilgrims. 

The site is currently visited by no less than 500,000 visitors annually. As an emerging site as time passes new ideas, conventions and practices are being formed by pilgrims and site mangers alike.

Lior Chen  


Yardenit is situated on the banks of the Jordan River, at the Southern tip of the Sea of Galilee
Speical dates: 

baptism at the yardenit