My third day in Jordan was spent visiting religious sites. This part of Jordan I had actually planned to skip as I had no idea how to get to these sites without a car, but on the day of my arrival I found out that my hotel could arrange a driver for me to take me on a day tour in the area around Amman. So I decided to take this offer, as it did also end with a visit to the dead sea which was something I also wanted to do, but had not yet figured out how to get to, so two birds with one stone…
The Madeba Map
First stop on the trip was kind of a surprise to me, to be totally honest I had not really looked in to what the different stops were. But this turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The driver started the day by taking me to The Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, which in many ways is a church like many others, but it also contains the Madeba map. The Madeba map is a giant mosaic map, from around the sixth century, on the floor of the church. It was rediscovered in 1884, and is the oldest known cartographic representation of the Holy Land and Jerusalem.
Next stop was Mount Nebo, it is mostly famous for being where Moses saw The Promised Land before he died without ever getting there. It is also mentioned as one of the hiding places of the Ark of the Covenant.
The mountain has a beautiful view, and there is also a church up here, and a few monuments commemorating it’s historical significance.
The Baptism Site of Jesus Christ
Now the Baptism Site was a bit of a different experience, I don’t know if there are other ways of getting there, but here I was “forced” to be part of a tour group. The driver took me to a parking lot where the ticket office was. After I had purchased my ticket I was told to wait with a group of other tourists. After about 15 minutes a Bus arrived and picked us up and we were driven to another location, where a walking tour of the site took place. We started by walking past a church before getting to the actual baptism site of Jesus. It is not an impressive sight, but it does have a lot of historical significance.
After the Baptism site, we moved on to another spot of the Jordan river where people were actually getting baptised. It was kind of a weird place as it is also the border between Jordan and Palestine/israel.
So on the other side of the river there was an Isreaeli complex, that seemed quite luxurious where people could go get baptised, and on the Jordanian side there was a simpler complex that served the same purpose. I did see a couple of people get baptised, but I will not post any pictures of this out of respect for their privacy.
After the visit to the riverbank we were taken to a couple of churches that both had gift shops, the guide spent as much time showing us the sights as he did in the gift shops, but apart from this little annoyance it was a great tour of the baptism site, and fun to see people being baptised.
The dead sea
Last stop was a spa/resort at the edge of the dead sea.
This place had a couple of swimming pools on the top of the hill that leads down to the dead sea, so you could go take a swim here before going in the actual Dead Sea.
Swimming/floating in the dead sea was a fun experience, but if you do go here, please remember flipflops. The sand is extremely hot, and as I didn’t have any I had to run in agony over the burning sand to get to and from the water.
Fun fact: for three days after visiting the dead sea I was sweating salt, as I had giant hard white spots on my black t-shirt every night. So it clearly works and does indeed get into your skin.
I have no pictures from the dead sea as I don’t want to run around with a camera among people in swimwear, I do have a couple of videos of myself in the dead sea, so these I might post as some point when I am done going through my video recordings from the trip.