Jerash Roman Ruins

One Friday in March four advisors from our project decided to take a day trip to see some Roman ruins in the town of Jerash, less than an hour north of Amman. According to the guidebook, Jerash was settled in 170 BC. In 129 AD the emporer Hadrian came and stayed for a year. So lots of improvements were built. They started with an arch for Hadrian.

Just inside the gate is the central plaza. They certainly believed in decorating their public spaces.

Inside the theater was a small band playing bagpipes. I didn't know Arabs play bagpipes. Maybe it has something to do with the crusades?

Up the hill from the theater was the Temple of Artemis built in 90 AD, before Christianity came to the Roman Empire.

Jerash was never a huge city. The guidebook estimates that its population at the time of Hadrian was about 25,000. Unlike Pompei, the city was not destroyed suddenly. It decayed following earthquakes and invasions of Persians and others. There are ruins of houses and Christian churches built during Byzantine times, but some are still being excavated and they have not been reconstructed. Also the stones from the buildings were recycled as people rebuilt.

We spent a couple of hours exploring, then headed back to the car.

Before heading back to Amman, we went to see the Ajloun Castle. It was built on top of a hill around 1200 to help defend against the crusaders. It has been partially restored. I wished for a good spot to take a picture on the way up the hill, but it didn't work out, so you can only see the view from the castle itself.

Then we returned to the modern city of Jerash where we found a restaurant with mixed grills accompanied by humus and other appetizers eaten with the delicous fresh pita bread baked in a huge oven.

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