The second most famous and visited site in Jordan after Petra, is the Greco-Roman city of Jerash. This great city was known from biblical times and represented a great center during the Roman Empire’s rule of the area. Jerash is a must-visit for any traveler who enjoys the history and scenery of Jordan.
The Greco- Roman city of Jerash is one of Jordan’s most captivating places when visiting the Kingdom. Located only an hour’s drive from the capital city of Amman, Jerash, (once known as ‘Gerasa’) during Roman times, is one of the ten Decapolis Cities in the world, and is amongst the largest and best -preserved Roman sites outside of Rome.
Although Jerash dates back to the days of Alexander the Great, the city’s golden age came under Roman rule, as the Romans developed the settlement considerably from its conquest in 63BC to its heyday of the 110s AD, when Roman Emperor, Hadrian ruled the entire empire.
Among the many fascinating facts about Jerash is that it was hidden for centuries in sand before being unearthed and restored over the past 70 years. To this day, its colonnaded streets, baths, theaters, plazas, and arches remain in excellent condition.
What to See in Jerash:
The South Theatre: The prominent South Theatre could seat around 3,000 spectators and was built in 90AD using donations made by the wealthiest citizens. It was used mainly for performances rather than than battles. Today, the South Theatre is used for the Jerash Festival, an annual music festival that features leading Arab artists and musicians.
The Oval Plaza: The plaza is a remarkable example of the Roman Empire’s awesome and unique skills and in design and engineering.
Other Main Sites:
- The Colonnaded Street
- Hadrian’s Arch
- The Cathedral
- The Nymphaeum
- The North Theatre
- The Jerash Archaeological Museum
- Two communal baths, and a scattering of small temples
- A large Nymphaeum fed by an aqueduct
- An almost complete circuit of city walls
- A water powered sawmill for cutting stone
- Two large bridges across the nearby river.
In the Holy Bible, it was mentioned that Jesus Christ passed through Jerash, as (Gerasa) was stated as the city in which Christ performed a miraculous exorcism on a man possessed by demons.
35 – The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened.
36- Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well.
37- And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned.…
(Luke 8: 35-37)