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Published: December 31st 2010
The ancient part of Jerash city also known as the old Roman city of Gerasa makes a fantastic day trip from Jordan’s capital city Amman. It is considered one of the best preserved Roman cities & indeed the size and level of preservation simply blow your mind!
Finding my way around to Jerash, local style
For this day trip I decided to opt for a local style transportation as the journey is always a big part of the experience. So no taxi hired (from Amman return, 30-40JD) but instead the local bus
system (a minibus which leaves once full, less than 2JD return)…So now, time to practice my still very limited Arabic! After ending up at the wrong place, chatting a bit more with the cab driver & a lady along the road, finally ended up at the right bus station (north one) where minibus are lined up with destination written in Arabic. Lucky enough the one for jerash was already nearly full so a few minutes later we were on for Jerash.
Just like the road to the Dead Sea, the one for Jerash is hilly, curvy and offers nice panoramas
. 40 mn, holding time
to time to the seat in front of me (the driver had the really bad habit of going full speed on downward roads to gain speed for the ones going uphill), chatting with the other passengers (such a mix of origins…) I finally reached the ancient city of Jerash. The minibus actually drops you at a cross road where you can see the arena of Jerash so a few more minutes walk and you are at the actual entrance of the site.
Experiencing the ancient city of Jerash
While chatting with my colleagues a few day before in Amman, most people recommended a good two hours on site well…it took me four hours!!
There are really two ways to explore Jerash
, either you take a guide and then yes in an hour and half the visit would be over as the guides seem to rush in order to have the maximum number of customers during one given day or you opt for the audio tour and then take your time to enjoy the place & take pictures (the option of not having a guide or a audio guide don’t seem to apply here as explanations are a
Ancient city of Jerash, Jordan
big part of the experience). I had used audio guides
in few other places before, but the one in Jerash was actually one of the best I had so far: easy to use, interesting content & excellent overall approach to each site.
In addition, a very big plus when traveling around Jordan at that time of the year is the absolute lack of big crowd of tourists
, so quite often I ended up with having a whole site to myself, sweet!
Entering Jerash through the majestic Hadrian gate you already start to realize just how elaborated
these roman constructions were and this is just the beginning of the visit! Temples with enriched mouldings, fountains, paved road, theatres, ornated colonnades everywhere you look
, arches and as a background a perpetual landscape of the modern Jerash city…simply stunning!
Highlights of the visit Hadrian Arch
: one of the entrance gate built to honor the emperor Hadrian, renowned architect (he is the one who built the Pantheon in Rome) Cardio Maximus
: a long colonnaded street which was the main street of the ancient city of Jerash, running south to north and passing through all the main sites The oval plaza
(forum) : gigantic gathering place surrounded by colonnades The temple of Artemis
(the goddess of forests and hills): rich in ornaments & enriched mouldings The temple of Zeus
(god of sky and thunder): offers a stunning panoramic view over the forum and cardio maximus The north theatre
: smaller in size compared to the great theater but very well preserved with a colorful marble ground & ingenuous sound system
Pictures always speak best for me when it comes to this type of sites, although in the case of Jerash, it took me literally hours to sort them out as there were just too many, so here is a small selection.
Another highlight of this visit was the friendliness of local people
, might they be visiting the site or working there, from the guard starting to chat with you or local female visitors with their kids who after a few hello and smiles are opening up to discussion, to the extend to invite you to their home for some dinner should I didn’t have to go back to Amman the same day…truly heartwarming!
All in all, this was my first but definitely not last time in Jerash
feels like dropping by the area, let me know!
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