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Jordan: Jerash

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Jerash | Jordan | Asia

[Visited: October 2002]

Jerash rose to prominence when it was conquered by the Romans and it was established as a trade city. For a few centuries, Jerash grew to become a prospering Roman city, with theatres, temples, a market place, baths and a forum. After the 3rd century CE, due to wars, invasions, earth quakes, and changing of trade routes, the city declined and was eventually even deserted, only to be repopulated in the 19th century.

Picture of Jerash (Jordan): Temple of Artemis, Jerash

For centuries, the city has been hidden under the ground and the sand has protected it very well. Excavations got under way in the 1920s and continue to this day. Although apparently large parts of the city have been uncovered, it is still estimated that around 90% of the city is still buried under the ground. Approaching the city from the South, you first walk past the Triumphal Arch and along the hippodrome to the actual entry. When you enter the city through the South Gate, you become aware of its size and the grandness of its monuments. On your left is the Temple of Zeus, ahead the oval-shaped forum, and from the forum you see a colonnaded street stretch out to the North Gate.

Picture of Jerash (Jordan): Jerash: looking through South Gate

Climbing up to the left you find the South Theatre, probably the best-preserved building of Jerash and still sometimes the scene of local performances. From here, you can stroll along the ruins, and fantasize about how it must have been in its heydays. Highlights include the various churches, some of which still with mosaics on the floor, the Nymphaeum, and the Temple of Artemis, the Goddess of Jerash. Walking back through the colonnaded street you wonder how it is possible that there are so few visitors to this interesting town.

Picture of Jerash (Jordan): South Theatre from above; Jerash
Picture of Jerash (Jordan): Nymphaeum at Jerash
Picture of Jerash (Jordan): Colonnaded street in Jerash
Picture of Jerash (Jordan): Temple of Zeus, Jerash
Picture of Jerash (Jordan): Temple of Zeus and modern Jerash
Picture of Jerash (Jordan): Forum and colonnaded street, Jerash
Picture of Jerash (Jordan): Jerash: columns of Temple of Artemis

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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