The Ancient City of Jerash
The Greeks arrived in Jerash before the Romans did. When the latter defeated the former, they demolished everything that reminded them of their arch-rival. Well, almost everything. Today, there are only very, very few ruins that are representative of the Hellenistic period—and the rest were built on Roman principles of architecture.
The Ancient City of Jerash is one of the cities of Decapolis (Ten Cities) which the Romans ambitiously built in the Middle East. Others were: Philadelphia (known as Amman nowadays), Gadara (Um Qais), Pella, Damascus, Raphana, Hippos, Dion, Canatha and Scythopolis (Bet She’an). In the Gospels of Mark and Matthew in the Old Testament, Decapolis was only mentioned as a region.
Jerash is known as Gerasa in the Old Testament.
The Roman ruins in Jerash are well-preserved.
Some of the Corinthian columns (there are a thousand of them) still stood defiantly against the rolling hills of the city.
Walking on the colonnaded streets was like on a parade in ancient times—but the ruins were the silent spectators you’d wish could give you an applause.
This Oval Forum was once the center of the ancient city.
Jerash is a city within a wall that measures 4 kilometers.
The Hadrian Gate in the south served as the entrance to the walled city. It was named after Emperor Hadrian who visited here in 129-130 A.D.
The Hippodrome was once a venue for sporting events, like chariot races. It can seat around 15,000 spectators.
The Temple of Zeus (Greek) became the Temple of Jupiter (Roman).
Temple of Artemis, a virgin hunter. No, she doesn’t hunt virgins. She is a hunter who is a virgin. 😉
Here’s a piece of the floor of one of the churches built in there. What’s amazing is that this floor is unroofed and is exposed to everything—but the colora are still clear. We’re talking about thousands of years here.
The South Theater. Every Roman city has this. Arts, I reckon, help them flourish and conquer cities successfully. They also have one in Amman.
How to get there:
It’s an hour (or less) drive from Amman, to the north. Though I’ve seen buses on our way there, the best way to get there is by car or tour buses which can be arranged by some hotels/hostels.
Usually, the tour to Jerash will also bring you to Ajloun, another tourist destination but only a few tour buses go. These two places will be done in 7-8 hours and will cost you around 90 JD for a minivan and 60 JD for a car/taxi. So, the best way to save for a backpacker is to gather some people around your hotel or hostel to share the cab.
If you are into an excellent organized tour that will give you enough time to explore the places you wanna visit, check EXPLORE WORLDWIDE. Also, check the following links for the places we’ve been to with LAWRENCE’s ARABIA TOUR in Jordan.
I was there, too! But, where did you get the first pic? That’s a very good aerial view of the old and new.
Helen, I climbed to the very top of the South Theater and took this panorama.
hands down to the first phot. Beautiful.