Jerash

Jerash is situated in the north of Jordan, 45km north of the capital Amman; less than one hour’s drive through the picturesque hills of ancient Gilead.

Renowned worldwide for its archaeological treasures, Jerash boasts an as unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6.500 years. The city’s golden age came under Roman rule and the site now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. It reveals a fine example of the grand formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theatres, spacious public squares and Plaza baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates. Beneath its external Greco – Roman veneer, it also preserves a subtle blend of east and west. Its architecture, religions, and languages reflect a process by which two powerful cultures meshed and coexisted, The Greco – Roman world of the Mediterranean basin and the ancient traditions of the Arab Orient.

During the Roman period, Jerash was part of the Decapolis, a league of ten cities along the eastern border of the Roman Empire. Its strategic position at the crossroads with the ancient trade route connecting the Mediterranean with the East was a crucial factor to its economic growth. Until the end of the Umayyad period in the 7th century AD, Jerash remained a lively provincial city. Afterwards, it was struck by the devastating earthquakes of the 6th century AD and lost importance, gradually disappearing under the sand. Abandoned for centuries, it was repopulated only in the 19 century by Circassian, who were forced to resettle from Russia to the Ottoman Empire. It was around this time that the first archaeologists acquired an interest in the area and started exploring its ancient ruins. Their intense work of investigation, conservation, restoration, and reconstruction over the past two centuries, has brought back to light the ancient city remains. Excavations are continuing to these days to restore, and expose new monuments. Meanwhile, Jerash continues attracting every year a greater number of visitors from all nationalities and is now the second-most popular touristic place in Jordan.

The city has developed dramatically in the last 50 years. This is due to its strategic location in the heart of Jordan and because of the growth of its tourism industry. The current inhabitants of Jerash live on the eastern side of the wadi dividing Jerash, while the western side is occupied by the archaeological site. Since 1981, the old city of Jerash hosts the famous Jerash festival, a three-week-long summer program of dance, musical, and theatrical performances, where 3000 people can be seated in its South Theatre. Your stay will be truly enjoyable, accommodation of hotels is overwhelming and places to buy traditional handicrafts and souvenirs, in addition to having good meals in its street snacks.

Jerash highlights:

  • Triumphal Arch
  • The Hippodrome
  • The great elliptical forum
  • The Temple of Artemis,
  • The South Theatre and the North Theatre
  • Cardo Maximus
  • Western (and Eastern Baths)
  • Nymphaeum
  • The Roman bridge

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Jerash

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