Jordan Valley’s Land of the Monasteries: A Project to Develop the Region and Promote the Economy


The Civil Administration is working to promote a project known as the “Land of the Monasteries”, which will rehabilitate monasteries on the west bank of the Jordan River. The project will promote tourism and economic development for the area—a step that will benefit all residents of the region. It will also include the disposal of land mines found in the area.


At the lowest place on earth, between the Dead Sea and the Baptismal Site in Qasr al-Yahud, remain a number of monasteries that were built centuries ago and were inhabited by Christians of various denominations. These monasteries are currently abandoned, but their ruins tell the rich history of the region and the significance of the area.


COGAT staff recently accompanied the Head of the DCL in Jericho, Lieutenant-Colonel Azhar Ghanem, on a tour of the area where the monasteries remain on the banks of the Jordan River, a few kilometers away from the city of Jericho. In his interview with COGAT, Lt. Col. Ghanem presented the plans for the area, the well-known “Land of the Monasteries”, and he explained that the goal is to establish a tourism complex that will serve as a focal point for Christian pilgrims in particular, and for tourists in general. Ghanem highlighted that, “Without a doubt, the renovations of the churches and the development of the site for visitors, will improve the economic situation in the region for all the residents, and especially for the Palestinian residents in the city of Jericho.”


The renovation and rehabilitation of the monasteries, the disposal of land mines in the area and the preparation of the entire area for tourism—all of this will take a considerable amount of time. Yet, when all of the administrative and financial matters relating to the site are completed and the extensive work plans are finalized, the site is expected to be a significant tourism center that will place emphasis on regional progress and will promote peace in the region, as it is a common interest for all relevant parties.