Yardenit is the diminutive of Yarden. Yarden in Hebrew means Jordan or Jordan River. Yardenit, the baptismal site on the banks of the Jordan River, was built by Kibbutz Kinneret with the help and blessing of the Ministry of Tourism in 1981. The site is still run by Kibbutz Kinneret and has welcomed millions of Pilgrims over the years.
Yardenit reflects the perfect combination of Christian heritage, stunning landscapes of the Holy Land and a history of civilization.Yardenit is physically located where the Jordan River flows from the Sea of Galilee. This pristine area is near other holy places like Capernaum, Tabgha, Bethsaida, Kursi and the Mount of Beatitudes. Every year over half a million visitors come to Yardenit to be baptized or to rededicate their baptismal vows or to be part of the world-wide Christian community bearing witness to their fellow Christians, who at this place have followed their Savior through the waters of baptism. This sacred place is a Christian sacrament marked by a ritual use of water immersion admitting the recipient to the Christian community.
The Christian commitment has been honored in various ways. The contracted architect, Danny Bar Kama, has designed a unique visitors center in the form of the nave of a church. The site is approached by a limestone pathway flanked with both olive trees and date palms.At the beginning of the pathway you notice the barrel vault arch plus a wall with water with three fountains. These three fountains represent the three tributaries of the Jordan River. You also notice the beginning of 'The Wall Of New Life' which is a wall of Christian faith.As you enter the building, on the west side, there is a wonderful stained glass window letting in afternoon light. There are clerestory windows on both the south and north side of the building and there is water flowing below the floor to a mini baptismal site to the east. Above this site there is a cupola with a shaft of light coming in.
On the south side of the transverse arm is a restaurant, which serves amongst other delicacies, the traditional St.Peter's fish. On the north side is a gift store with a large variety of unique Christian and Jewish gifts and Holy land souvenirs.
As you exit the building you walk to the baptismal pools and change rooms and you are struck at the immense beauty and quietness of the site with cascading eucalyptus trees bending their boughs into the sacred Jordan River. There is a powerful feeling of unity with nature, where the trees and water become one, in the place where the ritual of cleansing, purification and dedication to beliefs takes place.
'The Wall Of new Life' continues to the four separate baptismal pools.
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