Published: December 14th 2010October 27th 2010
Located some 48 km (30 miles) north of the capital Amman, Jerash is known for the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa, also referred to as Antioch on the Golden River. It is sometimes misleadingly referred to as the "Pompeii of the Middle East", referring to its size, extent of excavation and level of preservation (though Jerash was never buried by a volcano).
Jerash became an urban center during the 3rd century BC and a member of the federation of Greek cities known as the Decapolis ("ten cities" in Greek). Jerash prospered during the 1st century BC as a result of its position on the incense and spice trade route from the Arabian Peninsula to Syria and the Mediterranean region. Jerash was a favorite city of the Roman emporer, Hadrian, and reached its zenith in AD 130, flourishing economically and socially. The city began to decline in the 3rd century, later becoming a Christian city under the rule of the Byzantine empire. The Muslims took over in AD 635, but the final blow to the city was dealt by Baldwin II of Jerusalem in AD 1112 during the Crusades.
Modern Jerash sprawls to the east
of the ruins, sharing the same city wall but little else. Thankfully, the ruins have been carefully preserved and spared from encroachment.
The new North station in Amman is where you take the bus to Jerash, I struggled to get a taxi in the early morning traffic jam in the downtown area, finally I got one and I told him 3 JODs and he agreed, we chatted, a bit, seems to be friendly enough the driver used to work for the British embassy so his English is good, but then his crookery unraveled when he dropped me off at the station and when I gave him 3 JODs he said excuse me but the meter say 4.75! freakin cheat we made an agreement, I only have 5 JODs and did not even gave me a change, I was not in the mood to lose my temper in the early morning and the small bus is filling up quickly so I got out and headed to get on, double checking with the locals that it is indeed going to Jerash as the driver keeps saying Aljun. .85 cents for the 1 1/2 hour bus ride! so cheap!
asleep while we are on our way and got woken up by a local sat next to me when we arrived in Jerash, the driver pulled over a gas station and from there I can see the ruins, so I walked 10 minutes to the entrance, about 9am and already a few tourist buses were there ahead of me, I believe it was 8 JODs for entrance, the hippodrome after the entrance gate was huge, I sat on top of the seats and had my breakfast there, sandwiches I bought before I left Amman. Crowds are coming in now, groups of Japanese and Spanish so I quickly made my way towards the southern entrance facade where they collect the ticket, this place is huge , the columns, the ampitheatre, the"downtown" area was impressive for me, I enjoyed walking about, investigating every nook and cranny for carvings, sculptures any things not visible to a hurried tourist.
It was scorching hot as I walk around occasionally shading myself on the column shadows, the best temple for me was the Artemis, where the columns are reddish orange hue, took me about 3 hours to casually go around the perimeter of the ruins,
saw some floor mosaics as well quite nice, when I had it I went out and asked the security police how to get a bus to Amman, he walked me outside and we waited for a taxi, when none came he gave me directions on how to walk to the bus station in the town center. Basically I have to go back to the petrol station where I was dropped off and walk from there to the station about 10 minutes, but a guy stopped me at the petrol station and offered to take me to Amman for 1 JOD, 3 American girls studying in Amman joined me and we were off, 45 minutes later, yeah the guy was flying, we arrived in the outskirts of town.
The taxi driver told me to take a minibus to "Ragadan" downtown area, it took awhile for it to leave trying to fill up, then when I paid he could not understand where I was going, my landmark was the Roman theatre, Romani to them, so anyway we went to town and later I realized I was just 5 minutes away from my hostel but of course I havent a clue then
so I ended up at another bus station where the stupid conductor told me to take another bus to town! A helpful vendor walked me to the service taxi stand and explained to the locals waiting there too to take me to the taxi for Romani, we got on and I was dropped off finally in town. Cost me so little money but travel was a long time.
At the hostel I met Raza, a Pinoy-Canadian, in my room and we ended up walking together to the Jett bus office a good 30 minute walk from the hostel to buy tickets for Petra, after coming back we bought booze from a small liquor store, 8% alcohol, Petra beer! I had 2 while chilling at the living room area of Farah hotel and chatted with a Dutch dude who was quite friendly and gave us tips on where to stay in Petra, after that I was tired and went to bed to get up early the next day well not before having my liver sandwich fix from across the street, I still could not get myself to try the brain sandwich though.
There are more photos below