Tourism has all the times been a favorite practice by people who seek either to visit areas of interest or to seek adventures. However, in modern time tourism has taken a different trend, namely visiting places rich in religious sites and those abounding with traces that reflect past historical events.
Among the Middles Eastern countries which is considered as a jewel for religious and historical tourism is Jordan. This country is a conflation of faith with cultures or rather a country that merges civilization, culture, common living, and beauty.
Based on this fact, a Jordanian tourist and religious delegation has participated in the annual meetings of the general assembly of the National Association of the Directors of Pilgrimages (Association Nationale des Directeurs de Pèlerinages/ANNNP), which convened this year in Merville in the French Diocese of Lille.
During the week-long meetings, Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader, member of the National Tourist Council who accompanied the Jordanian delegation, shed light on the importance of Jordan as a holy land and spoke about the most important religious historical figures who lived in Jordan, the most important of whom are Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother Mary, in addition to the prophets like John the Baptist, Moses, and Elijah.
The remarks made by Fr. Bader serve as an open invitation to pilgrims to have the privilege of visiting Jordan, where upon arrival they can enjoy staying in a country characterized by peace, security, and common living, a model which must be emulated in several countries in the world that are plagued by instability and violence. Apart from the prevailing atmosphere of tranquility, visitors can be blessed by visiting the most important Christian site in the world, namely the Baptism Site on the eastern side of the River Jordan, the site where the Prince of Peace, Lord Jesus Christ, was baptized. Other Christian sites include Mar Elias, Mount Nebo, Our Lady of the Mountain, Mukawar and others.
On tourism in Jordan, Fr. Bader had earlier said, “Visitors who come to Jordan are not mere tourists but also pilgrims since Jordan contains many sites that testify to its ancient Christian history. Consequently, the visitors who come to Jordan are not mere tourists but pilgrims who come to enjoy praying at the holy sites sanctified by Lord Jesus Christ and the prophets such as Prophet Elijah, Prophet Moses, John the Baptist, the Apostles, and the martyrs.”
Among the Jordanian cities worthy to be visited is the city of Madaba which has won the title of the Arab Tourism City for the year 2022. Madaba is a historical and archaeological city as it has several touristic sites, especially those related to religious tourism. Madaba is mentioned in the Holy Bible dozens of times including the most famous event reporting Prophet Moses standing on the top of the Mount Nebo overlooking the Holy Land of Palestine.
Madaba is also distinguished by religious tourism due to its numerous sites which include Mount Nebo, Khirbit Al-Makhit, the Church of the Apostles and the Virgin, the Church of the Map which can be traced back to the 6th century, the Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist, as well as the mosaic panel placed by Caritas Jordan at the entrance to the Roman Catholic Church which became the recent touristic attraction in the city.
Furthermore, it is worthy to mention that on July 27, 2021 the city of Salt was nominated as the 6th UNESCO World Heritage Site succeeding Petra, Wadi Rum, Qasir Amra, Umm Ar-Rasas, and the Baptism Site. Under such a nomination, the city of Salt is accredited to be visited since it exudes the fragrance of the beautiful old days.
Jordan, which has proven to be a country characterized by its religious sites while incorporating cities that exude heritage and culture, has its hands wide open welcoming tourists and pilgrims who come to smell the beautiful scent of history by visiting its archaeological sites as well as the scent of sanctity by visiting its renowned Christian sites.