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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.

Ancient City of Jerash Decapolis

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.

Greek Jerash

Greek letters that used to welcome visitors at the south gate.

The Roman ruins in Jerash are well-preserved. 

Ancient City of Jerash Decapolis

Some of the Corinthian columns (there are a thousand of them) still stood defiantly against the rolling hills of the city.

Ancient City of Jerash Decapolis

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.

Ancient City of Jerash Decapolis

This Oval Forum was once the center of the ancient city.

Ancient City of Jerash Decapolis

Jerash is a city within a wall that measures 4 kilometers. 

Ancient City of Jerash Decapolis

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. 

Ancient City of Jerash Decapolis

The Hippodrome was once a venue for sporting events, like chariot races. It can seat around 15,000 spectators. 

Hippodrome Jerash

The Temple of Zeus (Greek) became the Temple of Jupiter (Roman).

Temple of Zeus jerash

Temple of Artemis, a virgin hunter. No, she doesn’t hunt virgins. She is a hunter who is a virgin. 😉 

Temple of Artemis jerash

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.

Church floor Jerash

The South Theater. Every Roman city has this. Arts, I reckon, help them flourish and conquer cities successfully. They also have one in Amman

Jerash Roman Theater Amman Jordan

How to get there: 

It’s an hour (or less) drive from the Jordan’s capital, 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.

How much?

Usually, the tour to Jerash will also bring you to Ajloun, another tourist destination but only few tour buses go. These two places will be done in 7-8 hours and will cost you around 90 JD for a mini van 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.

Organized Tour

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.

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4 Responses to “The Ancient City of Jerash”

  1. Helen
    January 6, 2014 at 3:09 PM #

    I was there, too! But, where did you get the first pic? That’s a very good aerial view of the old and new.

    • TheSojourner
      January 6, 2014 at 3:15 PM #

      Helen, I climbed to the very top of the South Theater and took this panorama.

  2. David
    January 7, 2014 at 9:57 AM #

    hands down to the first phot. Beautiful.

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  1. 26 Things to do in Amman - - January 24, 2014

    […] outside Amman. There are a lot of sites to see outside Amman: the Baptism Site, Mt. Nebo, Madaba, Jerash and the Dead Sea. (A separate blog entries for these places will be […]

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