Jerash has ruins of epic proportions. The best preserved Roman city in the world, Jerash stood the test of time and holds treasures troves waiting to be discovered. The city is located in the north of Jordan and chases the ruins of Petra for the country’s most popular attraction. Walking through the streets will make you question if you’re on a film set or stuck in an ancient Google maps. Here we break down the intricate details of the cities Greco-Roman ruins.
Built around 190/191BC, the Nymphaeum was once a working fountain that was designed as a water supply for the public. Comparable to Rome’s Trevi Fountain, these types fountains were dedicated to the water nymphs in ancient Greece and Rome. There still remains shadows of ethereal carvings, stone cut outs and beautiful artistry.
Following the Nymphaeum, you will find the entrance way to the Cathedral and what is an echo of magnificent architecture. In the Cathedral you will quickly notice Jerash society’s ideologies at conflict. Crowning the top of the stairs is the St Mary shrine whilst the structure itself was built on top of a Dionysus dedicated temple. It is a significant symbol of the cultural and religious shifts across Jerash’s history.
You’ll definitely need your best walking shoes for this one. The Cardo Maximus road stretches 800m and, in classic Roman fashion, is straight as an arrow. Holding the characteristics of Roman life, you will notice drainage systems and marks from chariots that would have sped through the busy streets. Lining the road are pillars built at different heights and is theorised to align with the buildings that would’ve stood behind.
Ionic colonnade curves around at two axis and provides you a grand 360 experience to an ancient Roman plaza. Standing at its centre, it’s easy to envision the commotion of the city filling up the plaza.
The Hippodrome was the stage for gladiators, chariot riders and other sportsman to show spectators what they’re made of. The arena could seat 15,000 people and today you can still watch horse drawn chariots races and immersive re-enactments.
The North Theatre
Built in 165 AD, the North Theatre is more compact between the surviving Jerash theatre. This one houses 14 rows and 2000 spectator and has experienced a series of expansions over the centuries. It’s been identified as a city council space as well as a stage for performances such as music and poetry. There are inscriptions on the seats visible today that signify representatives that give you a glimpse of the personalities that occupied the room.
The South Theatre
The larger of the two theatres, the South Theatre can seat about 3000 spectators. The South Theatre is a great opportunity to practice your vocal skills as the acoustics of carry particularly well for the benefit of spectators. The northern orientation also cleverly shields the spectators eyes from the sun so that they can focus on the performance. You will discover other details such as passages that take you into the orchestra’s space.
Hundreds of years later and the theatre still platforms the Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts that attracts thousands of attendees every year. From pop singers to opera performances, the past collaborates with modernity in celebration of the city’s rich and thriving culture.
Is it worth traveling to Jerash with a tour?
Yes absolutely. During Travel Talk’s Essential Jordan Tour you get to experience the absolute essential spots in Jordan and Jerash is one of them. Everything you must see in Jordan has an itinerary ready for you in one tidy package. All you need to do is book and you won’t need to stress about missing a thing.