The city of Jerash boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6500 years. Conquered by General Pompey in 63 BC, it came under Roman rule and was one of the ten great Roman cities, the Decapolis League. The city’s golden age came under Roman rule, and now the city is generally acknowledged to be one of the best preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. The modern city of Jerahs can be found to the east of the ruins. Careful preservation and planning have seen the city develop itself well away from the ruins so there is no encroachment on the sites of the old.
What to See
- Hidden for centures in sand before being evacuated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash reveals a fine example of the
grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East.
- Hadrian’s Arch - Built to commerate the visit of the Emperor Hadrian to Jerash in 129 AD, this arch was intended to become the Southern gate to the city, however the expansion plans were never completed.
- Hippodrome - This massive arena could seat 15,000 spectators at a time for chariot races and other sports. It is estimated to be constructed between the mid-second to thrid century AD.
- Oval Plaza - The plaza measures 90m x 80m and is surrounded by a broad sidewalk and colonnade of 1st century AD Ionic columns. There are 2 alters in the middle and a fountain was added in the 7th century AD.
- Colonnaded Streat - Still paved with the original stones, tthe 800m Cardo was the architectural spine and focal point of Jerash. An underground sewage system ran the full length of the Cardo and the regular holes at the sides of the streat drained rainwater into the sewers.
- CathedralFurther up the Cardo Maximus is the monumental and richly carved gateway of a 2nd century Roman Temple of Dionysus. In the 4th century, the temple was rebuilt as a Byzantine church, now referred to as the ‘cathedral’.
- Nymphaeum - This ornamental fountain was constructed in 191 AD and dedicated to the Nymphs. It provided a focal point for the city.
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