Qasr al Yahud (The Jews' Castle or Palace) is a site on the banks of the Jordan River not far from Jericho. Christian tradition associates Qasr al Yahud with the site of Jesus' baptism by Matthew (Matthew 3) and it has been revered as such from at least the fourth century. There are many monasteries and churches in the area testifying to the long religious tradition at Qasr al Yahud. In Jewish tradition the crossing of the Jordan by the Children of Israel under Joshua (Joshua 3) must also have taken place in this general area. It is also associated with the site where Elijah handed over the prophecy to Elisha and rose to heaven on a fiery chariot (2 Kings 11)
Due to its location Qasr al Yahud has not been an easy place to visit, and the Yardenit Baptismal Site has been the preferred choice of pilgrims. However, Qasr al Yahud has been recently refurbished with access to the river, showers, facilities for prayer, wheelchair access and improved car parking. The site now seems to be under the administration of the Israel Parks Authority and for the first time in many years is now open daily. The water quality is regularly inspected to ensure that it is safe to enter the Jordan. Please be aware the wet decking can be very slippy!
Getting to Qasr al Yahud
For further details of directions, opening times and more photos please see Qasr al Yahud Baptism Site