John 1:28 says that John baptized in "Bethany beyond the Jordan." A Byzantine church was established at the traditional site in the fourth century, and remained active until crusader times, after which it fell into ruins and its location was forgotten. In 1996 excavations uncovered the ruins of this traditional Byzantine Church; the site is now accepted by most scholars as the traditional site of the baptism of Jesus.
A broad view of Bethany beyond the Jordan, with the Mount of Olives in the far distant horizon. The closest building is a Greek Orthodox Church built in 2002.
A bend in the Jordan river and the contemporary Greek Orthodox church.
The Greek Orthodox church of John the Baptist at Bethany beyond the Jordan.
Wide angle view of the rock, apse and dome of the Church. The apse mosaic shows Christ suffering the agony in the garden. The moasic over the rock shows the celestial temple supported in the corners by four cherubim.
The Church is coposed of twelve domes, respresenting the heavens.
In the Apse mosaic, the hand of God is outstreached towards the suffering Jesus, with the angel sent to support him.
A cherub supporting the dome of heaven (based on Ezekiel 1).
This photograph was taken with the Canon 15mm wide angle lens (creating some distortion) at sunset from the rooftops near the center of the Old City. (Click on the photo to zoom in) In this photo you see (starting on the left) the minaret of the Mosque of Omar, the two domes of the Holy Sepulcher, the tower and dome of the Church of the Redeemer, the Muslim quarter, and on the right, the Dome of the Rock. The foreground is the covered market running north and south through the center of the city.
This crusader era church, near Lion's Gate on the NE part of the Old City, celebrates the mother of the Virgin Mary. It is one of the best surviving examples of an unchanged crusader cathedral. These shots were taken with a 15mm fisheye lens.
A tour through newly excavated Herodian tunnels (1st Century AD) not yet opened to the public. The tunnel runs from the Silwan (Shiloam) Pool up towards the Temple Mount (Haram). Some scholars think it may extend all the way under the Temple Mount. It may have been used as a water channel, or may perhaps have been for priests who were defiled on the Temple Mount and had to leave by underground tunnels.