The Jordan government has announced a six-year plan to draw one million Christians to celebrate the 2,000th anniversary of the baptism of Jesus Christ by 2029.
The site, which will be known as the "Bethany beyond the Jordan," will reportedly cost anywhere from $100 million to $300 million to build. The first phase of the plan – which will cost $15 million – is expected to be completed by 2023.
As reported by CBN News, the location is about 31 miles west of Amman, the capital of Jordan, which is also the area where John the Baptist declared Jesus "the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" in the Gospel of John.
"The extraordinary resonance of this landscape... and the significance of that event in human history shakes you to the core," John Booth, chairman of Britain's National Gallery, said.
The location, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015, will be placed alongside a new tourist city.
"We wanted to provide pilgrims a chance to be able to spend quality time at the location of the baptism while respecting its spirituality and the UNESCO World Heritage Site conditions," Sam Murad, chair of the new foundation created by the government, explained.
"We decided on a biblical village theme that attempts to recreate a 2,000-year-old experience," he continued.
Under the current site plans, the location and its ancient history will be preserved.
"We will supply Arab-style tents and all sanitary services that will provide an authentic feeling," Murad said. "This allows us to be in concert with the theme yet at the same time provide housing at reasonable costs for pilgrims who want to spend spiritual time at this sacred location."
Additional attractions to the baptismal site will include souvenir shops, restaurants, botanical gardens and walking trails.
"We are talking about rustic stones and pebbles in architectural designs that preserve the place's pristine nature and ensure that the sanctity and spirituality that existed 2,000 years ago are not trampled on by any development," Kamel Mahadin, an architect, told Reuters. "We are not talking about a high-tech landscape."
According to Religion News Service, the plan is expected to be complete by 2029.
"Our initial goal is to raise the needs for the first phase so that people can see and feel what we plan to do," Murad told the outlet.
Nine faith organizations will also be involved in Bethany beyond the Jordan. by building a place for visiting pilgrims. One of the groups, the Baptist World Alliance, will construct a Baptist outpost at the forthcoming location.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Photographer, this is an image of Amman, Jordan
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.