After much investment in infrastructure to improve the spiritual experience and physical comfort of tourists and pilgrims, the baptism site on the River Jordan known as Qasr el Yahud is now open to the public, free of charge, seven days a week.
Qasr el Yahud is the third most important site for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land (after the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Church of the Nativity). It is considered to be the site where, according to the New Testament, John the Baptist baptized Jesus (Matthew, 3: 13-17). The site is also considered to be the place where the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan when they entered Canaan.
Because of the importance of the site, which is located on the road to Jericho from Jerusalem, many churches were built here over the centuries. The Tourism Ministry, among others, has invested about $2.3 million in renovating and upgrading the site. This includes the construction of wooden ramps into the Jordan River to allow pilgrims easy and comfortable access to the waters for baptism; erecting shaded areas for prayer sessions, upgraded bathroom, shower and parking facilities. The site is wheelchair accessible.
The site, which is managed by the Nature Parks Authority, is open to the public free of charge everyday including Saturday from 09:00 – 17:00 except for Fridays and Festivities eve: 09:00 – 15:00 (winter time) and 09:00 – 16:00 (Summer time).