Jarash Things to Do Tips by antistar Top 5 Page for this destination
Jarash Things to Do: 151 reviews and 354 photos
On the outside looking in...
Jerash was one of Emperor Hadrian's favourite cities. Outside the main site, and freely visited, is Hadrian's Arch (also know as the Triumphal Arch). This was built as a new southern gate, when Emperor Hadrian visited the city in the winter of 129-130AD. The intention seemed to be to extend the city outside its borders, but after he left the attention of the citizens returned to the center again.
Just inside the gate is the hippodrome.
Directions: At the top of the steps from the car park.
The North Gate is at the far end of the Cardo, and was built in 115AD. It marks the begining of the old road to the city of Pella, one of the ten cities of the Greco-Roman federation (Decapolis).
Church of Saint Theodore
The Roman Temple of Dionysus was rebuilt in the 4th century AD as a Byzantium church. Although it is called a cathedral, there's no evidence to suggest it was anything so grand. Lying directly above the Cathedral, and almost a part of it, is the Church of Saint Theodore. This large church was built a little later, in 496AD.
This was the city's major marketplace, located halfway up the collonade, just before the major crossroads of the city.
Along the Cardo, and underneath the Temple of Artemis, you can find the Nymphaneum, a monument dedicated to Nymphs, and consisting of an ornate fountain decorated with lion heads.
Directions: On the left of the Cardo, just before the entrance to the Temple of Artemis.
Temple of Artemis
Artemis was the patron of the city, and not surprisingly the Temple of Artemis is the most prominent feature of the city, sitting high above Jerash and visible from everywhere. It was built around 150AD, and completed with a grand entrance from the east, and a vast and imperious gateway. The locals also added a grand portico and baths just in front.
After the Romans the Crusaders turned the temple into a kind of fortress, along with a number of other buildings.
Directions: On top of the hill, overlooking everything.
Temple of Zeus
The Temple of Zeus sits high above the Forum and offers some of the best views of the Roman city. I got to the summit just as the early afternoon prayers started. It has to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life, to look out over the ancient Roman city of Jerash, while having the imams of at least four mosques call the faithful to prayer. The sound of "Allah Akhbar" surrounded me, coming from all directions and echoing off the nearby amphitheater and the walls of the temple.
I recorded a snippet of it with my camera, and it is very bizarre. Playing it back comes across like the opening to Pink Floyd's "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", from Live at Pompeii.
The temple was built sometime between 22AD and 70AD, and paid for by gifts from wealthy citizens.
Directions: Up from the Forum, and next to the South Theater.
Don't look down!
The South Theater is the biggest of the two in the city, and seated up to 3000 in its day. It was built around the same time as the Temple of Zeus next door. If you aren't afraid of heights, you can climb all the way to the top of the stadium, and look down. I warn you, it's not for the faint hearted. It's high, it's incredibly steep, and there is absolutely no safety protection of any kind.
I had the whole place to myself, until two other English tourists turned up a while later. I got my own rendition of various Scottish tunes played out on the bagpipes by two Bedouins. Almost as strange as the call to prayer from the Temple of Zeus...
Directions: Next to the Temple of Zeus, above the Forum.
Up from the Forum is the collonaded Cardo, which was the main shopping thoroughfare of the city. Once a vast array of shops and markets were here, serving the local community. It's also the main artery of the city, so it was also lined with many of the city's most important buildings. The street is wide, and has a complex draining system. It also was a conduit for chariots, and if you look closely enough at the rough stone surface, you can see the marks of where chariot wheels have carved tracks into it.
Directions: North from the Forum.
The Forum, Jerash
The highly unusual Roman Forum is the focal point of the entire city. It's a large, wide, circular plaza, built in 1AD, and is surrounded by 160 Ionic columns, and numerous important buildings, including the main and smaller theaters, and the Temple of Zeus. The main shopping street, the Cardo, leads off from here towards the North Gate.
Directions: Straight ahead from the main entrance.
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