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RELIGION & FAITH

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Adam in the garden of Eden.

For Christians, this region inspires their faith. This is the place where God first spoke to Man. It is the Holy Land where God gave his Ten Commandments to Moses, where Job suffered and was rewarded for his faith, where Jacob wrestled with the angel of God, and where Jesus was baptized by John.

In the Book of Genesis, God refers to the Jordan River Valley around the Dead Sea as the “Garden of the Lord,” and it is believed to be the location of the Garden of Eden.

The infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and many other places were the subjects of dramatic and enduring Old Testament stories, including that of Lot, whose wife turned into a pillar of salt for disobeying God’s will.

Twelve hundred years after the death of Moses, the Bible claims that John the Baptist preached and baptized in a place called Bethany Beyond the Jordan. This place has now been identified as Tall Al-Kharrar and Elijah’s Hill.

Islamic Sites

Many of these sites and others in the region are also significant holy places for Muslims, who can find a plethora of religious destinations that are important to the development of Islam, the religion followed by the majority of Jordanians today.

Visit the tombs of the Prophet Mohammad's (PBUH) venerable companions and military leaders who fell in battle or became victims of the Great Plague (Amwas Plague) in the 18th year after the Hijra.

Abu Ubeida Amer Bin Al-Jarrah

A relative of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and one of the first converts to Islam. He participated in all major events and was one of the ‘Blessed Ten’ to whom the Prophet promised paradise. As supreme commander of the Northern Muslim Army, he successfully conquered Syria and was dubbed by the Prophet as "The Trustee of the Nation." At the age of 58 he fell victim to the Great Plague that spread through Greater Syria. His tomb, in the Central Jordan Valley, is a major Islamic centre with a mosque, library and cultural centre.

Mo'ath Bin Jabal

A venerable companion and one of the six charged with the task of compiling the Holy Quran during the life of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). He was sent by the Prophet as counselor to the people of Yemen and also took part in the Aqaba Allegiance Convention between the Prophet and his supporters from Medina. He died at the age of 38 in the Jordan Valley, having spent his short life teaching faith and the Holy Qu'ran. A modern building with five domes houses his tomb.

Shurhabil Bin Hasanah

A venerable companion and one of the early Muslims who fled to Abyssinia. Known for his strong faith, intelligence, bravery and administrative abilities, he participated in the Battle of Yarmouk and the conquest of Jerusalem. He also commanded the army assigned to the conquest of Jordan. He later became the governor of a province in Greater Syria. He died from the plague on the same day as the venerable companion, Abu Ubeida Amer bin Al-Jarrah.

Amir Bin Abi Waqqas

A maternal cousin of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the eleventh man to convert to Islam. He migrated to Abyssinia and fought in the battle of Uhud. He was later entrusted with carrying messages from the commanders of the Muslim army to the Caliph in Medina and became deputy to the venerable companion Abu Ubeida during his governorship in Syria. His tomb is located within a new building erected on vaults, in the village of Waqqas, in the Northern Jordan Valley.

Derar Bin Al-Azwar

A venerable companion of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). He was a poet and fierce warrior, who fought in the wars of Apostasy and took part in the conquest of Greater Syria, alongside his distinguished sister, Khawlah bint Al-Azwar. A victim of the Great Plague, he died in the 18th year after the Hijra. His tomb is located in a mosque superimposed by a dome in the town of Deir ‘Alla.



Bethany Beyond the Jordan

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The River Jordan, where Jesus was baptized.

The Bible confirms that John preached and baptized in a place called Bethany Beyond the Jordan, which Byzantine and Medieval texts, as well as modern archaeology identify as the site called Tall Al-Kharrar and Elijah’s Hill. Stunning archaeological discoveries since 1996 reveal pottery, coins and architectural remains from a 5th century Byzantine monastery.

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Baptism pool.

They also reveal an earlier 3rd century building with fine mosaics and what is known as a Christian "prayer hall." If this is correct, it might be one of the earliest Christian prayer facilities anywhere in the world. Also identified is the cave where John the Baptist lived, according to numerous Byzantine pilgrims’ texts. The cave was turned into a church and a freshwater channel running from the cave, purportedly used by John for baptizing, can still be visited today.

For more information on Bethany Beyond the Jordan, please click here to visit the Baptism Site Commission website.

Madaba

A city of mosaics. Madaba sites include St. George's Church, with a mosaic map of the Holy Land, the Madaba Archaeological Park, the Madaba Museum, the Church of the Apostles, and a Mosaic School.

 Learn more about Madaba & its vicinity



Mount Nebo

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The sanctuary at Mount Nebo.

The place where it is believed that Moses was buried and the most revered Holy site in Jordan. When you stand at the top of this mountain, you can see, as Moses did, the vast panorama that encompasses the Jordan River Valley, the Dead Sea, Jericho and Jerusalem.

According to legend, this is also the place where Jeremiah hid the Ark of the Covenant. It was a place of pilgrimage for early Christians and Mount Nebo’s first church was built in the 4th century to commemorate the site of Moses’ death.

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The Serpentine Cross outside the sanctuary at Mount. Nebo.

Six tombs from different periods have been found hollowed out of the rock beneath the mosaic-covered floor of the church. In the present presbytery you can see remnants of mosaics, the earliest of which is a panel with a braided cross.

The Serpentine Cross, which stands just outside the sanctuary, is symbolic of the brass serpent taken by Moses into the desert and the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.

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The hilltop where King Herod's palace stood.

Mukawir

The remains of King Herod's hilltop palace of Machaerus still stands. This is the place where Herod Antipas beheaded John the Baptist at the Salome's request.



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Lot's Cave

A Byzantine monastic complex, it included a church with mosaic floors, a reservoir, living quarters, a burial chamber and a cave that appears to have been presented to pilgrims as the place where Lot and his daughters took refuge after the destruction of Sodom.


Tall Deir Alla

At Tall Deir Alla, excavations have revealed almost continuous habitation from 1600-400 BC. The site contains evidence of metalworking, grain storage farming and seasonal migration, as well as a cemetery. Archaeologists believe this may be the biblical site of Succoth.

Tall Saadiyyeh

An important walled town for most of the Bronze and Iron Ages (3200-536 BC). It had a large Caravanserai (Inn) in the early Islamic period, and is believed to be associated with the biblical sites of Zaphon and Zarthan.

Bab Ad-Dhraa and Numeira

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A circular charnel house at Bab Ad-Dhraa on the south east coast of the Dead Sea.

Along the south east coast of the Dead Sea are the sites of Bab Ad-Dhraa and Numeira, both plausible candidates for the biblical sites of Sodom and Gomorrah (in the Book of Genesis, God destroyed these places because He was displeased with the wickedness of the inhabitants). Bab Ad-Dhraa was inhabited for about 1000 years during the early Bronze Age. Nomads used this place as a cemetery, burying their dead in multiple shaft tombs and charnel houses. Numeira, 14km to the south, was a large hilltop walled town that lasted for around a century during the Early Bronze Age period. A 40cm layer of ash indicates that this ancient place suffered a fiery destruction.


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The curative properties of the Dead Sea have been recognized since the days of Herod the Great over 2,000 years ago.

Because of its extremely high content of salt and other minerals, the Dead Sea is devoid of plant and animal life.

The water level of the Dead Sea is dropping by about a 30cm (1 foot) per year. It is being diverted by Israel and Jordan for industry, agriculture and household use. Scientists predict that the sea may be dried up by the year 2050.

The warm, low altitude, high oxygen atmosphere of the Dead Sea area has been shown to help heart surgery patients. Patients who have spent up to three weeks at the Dead Sea resort prior to bypass surgery are shown to have less post-surgery complications, such as diastolic stiffness and dysfunction.