SITES IN NEARBY COUNTRIES

There are sites in other countries you might want to visit while you are in the area:

JORDAN

Bethany across the Jordan - John is said to have baptized Jesus in the Jordan River at Bethany on the east bank of the river. (John 1:28; 10:40) An early pilgrim writes that the spot was 5 miles from the Dead Sea, which coincides with the place revered today. Many churches and a monastery were built on both sides of the Jordan over the ages but the west side is now considered a military zone by Israel. The Jordanians are developing the place on the east side including churches by the Orthodox, the Catholics, and the Lutherans.

Madaba - is not a city of Christian significance, nor was it visited by Jesus, as far as we know. But there is a famous mosaic map in an Orthodox church with Jerusalem as its center. It has been concluded that the map was constructed in 560-565C.E., and it depicts biblical-era Palestine and parts of neighboring countries. It is housed in a Greek Church built in 1896. Parts of the original were destroyed in the building of the church so we do not know how extensive the map really was.

Mt. Nebo is an Old Testament site where Moses took his last look at the “promised land” he could not enter. There are some ruins in the area but here you can look west to see the expanse of water, plains and mountains which Moses viewed. He died before he could enter the promise land and tradition says Moses is buried in this area but the exact place is not known.

LEBANON

Tyre and Sidon - Although now in Lebanon, these cities were in greater Syria in Jesus’ day. Sidon was an important Canaanite city and there are numerous Hebrew Bible references to it. Extensive archeological work has been done there revealing a Crusader sea castle and other artifacts. Tyre is probably the older Phoenician city and became better known than Sidon in Jesus’ day. Jesus healed the daughter of a Syrophoenician woman when he visited the vicinity of Tyre. (Mark 7:24-29). Acts 21:3-4 reminds us that Tyre and Sidon were first century Christian centers as well. 

SYRIA (if the war is over)

Damascus still has a “Street Called Straight” as in the story of Paul’s conversion. (Acts 8) It is in the Christian Quarter and is also known as “The Long Street”. A famous Muslim location in Damascus is the Great Mosque. Modified from a cathedral church in the 8th century, it is a good example of the way in which buildings changed religions in this area. Note the different directions worshippers faced.

TURKEY

Antioch is the city in which the followers of Jesus were first called “Christian”. (Acts 11:25-26). It has been claimed by both Syria and Turkey. When it is in the hands of Turkey it is sometimes called “Antaka”. There is little of Christianity to be seen there now.
Istanbul  is important in Christian history as the center of Orthodoxy and by the earlier name of Constantinople. It contains many religious buildings that have changed hands between Christians and Muslims. You can tell by the traditional direction marked for worshippers to face. Christians face east and Muslims in Istanbul  face south toward Mecca.  

 

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