Jerash: جرش (AKA Gerasa)

Jerash is one the best preserved ancient Roman provincial cities in the world. Just about a 30-minute drive from the capital city of Jordan; Amman (approximately 48 KM), is a mixture of Greco-Roman and ancient Arab traditions and therefore careful preservation and planning has developed this city from the ruins so there is no encroachment on the sites.

Visitors enter the site through Hadrian’s Arch, built in honor of its namesake. Close by is the Hippodrome where chariot races and sporting events were held. Walk up a colonnade of 1st century columns in the Oval Plaza and then take the staircase that leads you to the Temple of Zeus; surrounded by15 meters high Corinthian columns.

To the right of the Oval Plaza is the onsite Archaeological Museum with fascinating artifacts found on the site including gold jewelry, coins, glass and even pottery theater tickets. To the north of the Oval Plaza is the Cardo Maximus (the main road in Jerash), paved with its original stones and bears the ruts of chariot wheels.

These are some of the many interesting explorations in Jerash: the Marketplace, the Umayyad Mosque, South Tetrapylon, South Decumanus, Temple of Dionyus which was rebuilt as a Byzantine Church, the Shrine of the Virgin Mary, the Church of St. Theodore, the Church of St. Cosmos and St. Damian, the Church of St john the Baptist, the Church of St George, the Nymphaeum, the Propylaeum, the Temple of Artemis, the Odeon (a small theater), the Church of the Bishop Isaiah, and the North Tetrapylon.

Jerash hosts the lively annual Jerash Festival, held for 2 weeks in July with local, regional performing artists in addition to international artists.