On our 4th and last day in Jordan we visited Jerash, which is about 50 km (30 miles) north of Amman, and is considered one of the largest and most well preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world outside of Italy. It once had a Roman population of 15,000 to 20,000.
We entered the city of Jerash via the South Gate (dates back to 130 AD) which then opened into what was once used as a marketplace.
Once we walked through the gate there were signs for reenactments of chariot races but unfortunately they did not have any scheduled when we were there.
As Scotch and I walked through Jerash, I tried to follow Lonely Planet’s suggestion to “imagine life 2000 years ago: the center bustling building with shops and merchants, lined with cooling water fountains and dramatic painted facades. Picture today’s empty niches filled with painted statues; buildings still clad in marble facades and decorated with carved peacocks and shell motifs; and churches topped with Tuscan-style terracotta tiled roofs.”
Below is a the Colannaded Street (or Cardo) which is still paved with the original stones. We could still see the ruts worn by chariot wheels. On both side of the columns were once shops and there was an underwater sewage system that ran the full length of the Cardo (damn, those Romans were clever).
Close-up of the Columns:
This is the Temple of Artemis below. Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and sister of Apollo and was also the patron goddess of Jerash. 11 of the original 12 columns are still standing and the temple’s inner chamber was originally clad with marble slabs and housed a shrine which probably contained a statue of the goddess.
A close-up of the temple’s columns:
Below is the North Theatre built in 165 AD and was doubled in size in 235 AD to hold 1600 people.
There were 2 theatres in Jerarsh – here is the stage of the South Theatre which was built betwen 90-92 AD and seats morre than 3000 spectators.
While we were touring the South Theatre, there was a performance by the trio below and due to the bagpipes I think they sounded rather Scottish.
So that’s it! We drove straight to the airport after Jerash and concluded a wonderful and very jam-packed 4 days vacation away from Dubai.