Yardenit, from the Hebrew word for Jordan – Yarden – is the baptismal site run by Kibbutz Kinneret on the banks of the Jordan River. Ever since its creation in 1981, millions of Christian pilgrims have come to be baptised near the Holy sites of Capernaum, Bethsaida, Tabgha, Kursi and the Mount of Beatitudes. Christians come to be baptized either for the first time or to rededicate their vows in the same waters that Jesus himself was baptised. The site is located at the south of the Sea of Galilee where the river begins and can be easily accessed from Tiberias by public transport or taxi.
Architect Danny Bar Kama has designed a unique visitor's center which also serves as a Church. The entrance to the site is lined with palm trees and olive trees, the symbols of the Land of Israel. At the foot of the path there is a wall with three fountains, to represent the three tributaries of the Jordan River, and several artistic representations of Christian faith. The building is lit by natural lighting coming through the beautiful stained glass window, and clerestory windows on the northern and southern walls. Below the floor the sacred water flows towards a mini baptismal site on the eastern side. There is also a restaurant which serves the St Peter's fish among the many traditional delicacies, and there is also a gift store where you can buy souvenirs of the experience.
Upon exiting the building, you are immediately hit by the natural beauty of the Galilee, and the peaceful nature of the enclave surrounded by eucalyptus trees bending in to the famous river. Four baptismal pools are waiting for pilgrims to embark on the ritual of cleansing and purification, and the atmosphere provides an extra level of spirituality and connection with nature, not to mention the historical connection between 2000 years of Christian pilgrims dating back to Biblical times. This is an essential part of any trip for Christians visiting the Holy Land!