After much investment in infrastructure to improve the spiritual experience and physical comfort of tourists and pilgrims, the Qasr el Yahud baptism site on the River Jordan, known as the place of Jesus' baptism, is now open daily to the public.
Recognized since the 4th century as the site of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, Qasr el Yahud is considered the third most important site for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land (after the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem). The site is revered as the place 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 River 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. Wooden ramps into the Jordan River now allow pilgrims easy and comfortable access to the waters for baptism; shaded areas have been erected for prayer sessions; and bathroom, shower and parking facilities have been upgraded. The site is also wheelchair-accessible.
The Qasr el Yahud baptism site is managed by the Israel Nature Parks Authority and is open to the public free of charge daily from 9 AM-5 PM -- except for Fridays and holiday eves, when it will be open from 9 AM-3 PM (winter) and 9 AM-4 PM (summer).