Walk amid a citadel of Roman ruins, watch chariot races and shop in a bustling souk in this ancient Jordanian city.
Visit Jerash to experience a fascinating blend of ancient Roman history and Jordan’s modern urban life. Overtaken by Emperor Pompey in 63 B.C., Jerash flourished as one of the 10 cities of the Decapolis League of the Roman Empire. Explore superbly preserved Roman ruins in the old part of the city to appreciate its former affluence and importance. Experience its contemporary lifestyle while wandering the newer commercial streets.
The major highlight is the Roman Ruins of Jerash. Buried by an earthquake in A.D. 749, they lay hidden for over 1,000 years before being discovered by a German explorer in 1806. Today the ruins stand as a fine example of the lavish existence of Romans outside of Italy. For additional information, hire one of the guides who line up at the ticket office., built in A.D. 129 for a visit from Emperor Hadrian. Behind this gateway is the 15,000-person-capacity Hippodrome, where chariot races and parades took place. Attend a reenactment by costumed characters. Walk to the Oval Forum, famous for its ring of over 50 Ionic columns. Climb a staircase to the Temple of Zeus for a great view from above.
Stroll along the Cardo, an elegant column-framed street running the length of the ancient city. Punctuating it are the Agora marketplace, Artemis Temple and Nymphaeum fountain. Other highlights include the Southern Theatre and Northern Theatre. Browse an exhibition of coins, mosaics and glassware at the Jerash Museum.
Reach Jerash by catching a bus from Amman. Along the way, enjoy the scenery of hillsides swathed in fig, olive and plum trees. July is a good time to visit, when the Jerash Festival takes over the ruins with art expositions, ballets, folkloric dancing and live music.