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Jerash Jordan *

The Oval forum and the Cardo maximus of Jerash seen from the South theater, Jordan Photo: Fabio Knoll

Jerash is considered one of the largest and most well-preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world outside Italy. Jerash is now the second-most popular tourist attraction in Jordan, closely behind the ruins of Petra. Jerash is sometimes spelled Jarash, but should not be confused with the Palestinian village that was depopulated over the course of 1948 Arab-Israeli war which has the same name.

Jerash_-_colonnaded_street
Jerash_-_colonnaded_street

Jerash (جرش) is a city in Jordan where there are ancient ruins. Archaeologists have found ruins of settlements dating back to the Neolithic Age (12,000 years ago ) and the  the Bronze Age (3200 BCE – 1200 BCE). Semitic inhabitants, who lived in the area during the 1st millennium BCE, named their village Garshu. Gerasa -Γέρασα was founded by Alexander the Great. The Romans later Hellenized the former Semitic name into Gerasa. After the Roman conquest in 63 BC, Jerash was annexed to the Roman province of Syria, and later joined the Decapolis league of cities and later Arabia province.

Jerash by Drone, AirVuz, Fabio Knoll

The most popular sites visited in Jerash are the Oval Forum, the Cardo Maximus, the Colonnaded Street, the nymphaeum, the Arch of Hadrian, the North Theater, the hippodrome, the Temple of Artemis, and the Northern Tetrapylon.

(Photos: Yaacov Yaari)

The city flourished during the Umayyad Caliphate. In CE 749, a devastating earthquake destroyed much of Jerash and its surroundings. In the early 12th century Crusader Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, captured and burned the fortress in CE 1121–1122.

Hippodrome,_Jerash,_Jordan Photo:Diego Delso
Hippodrome,_Jerash,_Jordan
Photo:Diego Delso

Jerash is a very impressive site with nice things to see and all are very large. You will need easily 2-4 hours to see it all. Not necessary to take a guide as there are signs and explanations everywhere. Better preserved than most Athens ruins. It is easy to walk since the ground is flat everywhere. The Roman ruins at this place were just stunning!

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