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Published: November 3rd 2013
Today, we should visit Jerash in the morning. In the afternoon, there was more time for Madaba, because we didn't had that much time yesterday to see everything. But first, we had breakfast at our rooftop restaurant in our hotel (Mariam hotel, in Madaba). Again, the breakfast contained out a small English breakfast (eggs, vegetables, some small lamb sausages), flat bread with hummus, and small, sweet breads, coffee, tea and fresh juice. After breakfast, we left to Jerash, together with our guide Omar and of bus driver Waél.
Jerash is one of the best kept Roman city's of the world, and the best kept Roman site of the Middle East. Only 5-10% was found, the other parts are still buried at the site or buried underneath the modern city of Jerash. In the Old Testament, Jerash was known as Gilead as a populated and cultivated region in the fertile hills. Around 170 BC Jerash was known as Gerasa, during the Hellenstic period (the Greek period). The Romans arrived here at 63 BC, and took over the city. The Roman Empire Tarjan, created a new province in the Roman Empire, called "Arabia" in 106 AD. The capital of this aria was
Fountain in Jerash
Borsa (nowadays called Bursa Al-Sham, in Southern Syria). Emperor Trajan made a new "highway" from Borsa to the Red Sea, linking different city's close to it. Trading was the main in this Arabia. In 129-130 AD during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, the successor of Trajan, the Gerasa became more the center of Arabia. In 190 AD, a civil disorder in Rome led to crippling inflation, and trades began to whittle away and the trade was seriously affected. Christianity became the official region. Many churches were build in Gerasa. In 614 AD the Persians took over Gerasa. In 636 AD the Muslims took over Gerasa and renamed it to Jerash. During the massive earthquake in 749 AD a lot of Jerash was destroyed, and the city was buried underneath a lot of sand. But it was kept very well underneath the sand, which makes Jerash one of the best kept Roman city's in the world.
When the bus parked, you had to enter via an souvenir shop market. Here, I bought some postcards, and then we finally could enter Jerash. The fist thing that you see in Jerash is the Hadrian Arch. Its 11 m high gateway, but originally
it should be 22 meters high. It was build to honor the visit of the emperor Hadrian to Jerash in 129-130 AD. After entering and entering the site, you can see the Hippodrome, at he west side. It has undergone extensive renovation work. It is 244 meters long, but it's one of the smallest Hippodromes discovered of the Roman Empire, giving place to 15,000 people. The biggest Hippodrome is the Circus Maximus in Rome, and gave place to 157,000 people. A Hippodrome was used for the ancient sport festivals and chariot races. We entered the Hippodrome, and at some days you can visit a small Roman show at the Hippodrome at the site, but I didn't do it. It coast 12 JD extra, though. We also saw The Oval Plaza. The name describes it. I'ts a plaza in an oral form. A lot of pillars are standing around this plaza. Hereafter, you can walk the The Cardo (Colonnaded Street). The length of the street is in total 800 meters, and on it's side you see a lot of pillars. The old street stones are laying still here and you walk onto it, and you still can see the marks of
As you can see, the marks of the many horse charts are still visible.
the many horse carts which drove over here. First, you cross the South Tetrapylon, it's a circular plaza with and four freestanding podia, from here you can see the South Bridge and the Mosque (8th century). You still follow the Cardo street, and at the left side you see the Nymphaeum, a huge fountain build in 191 AD. Those kind of fountain were found in many Roman City's. The water came from the high level, and cascaded through 7 carved lion's heads and felt in a small basins, to lead the water in the underground water system. From here, we visited the North Theater. It was build 90 AD and gave place too around 2000 people. We started to sit, and went down, and climbed up. It's quite high, tough. From here, we took al walk to the Temple of Artemis, build in 150 AD. Artemis was a daughter of the God Zeus and his sister Apollo. Artemis was the patron goodness of Gerasa. Herefore, the temple was used for place of sacrifice. Probably, a statue of the Artemis was standing in the temple, but nowadays the temple is empty. From here, you saw the Synagogue Church, the Church of
Bishops Genesius and the Church of St. Cosmas and Damian. The last Church, we made a stop to visit. A lot of mosaics was found in these churches, but wasn't complete anymore. Those mosaics should contain images of plants, animals, the city's of Alexandria and Memphis in Egypt and images of the four seasons. However, in the Lonely Planet of Remco there was written about art, which represent the medicins and health care during that time. Our Guide Omar didn't knew about this, so we had a discussion about it, which part of the Church, and which of the remain art could be linked to that. From here, we visited the south Theater, build in 90-92 AD. It gave place to more than 3000 people. At arrival some Jordanian man were making music at the bagpipe. The Bagpipe is still used a lot in Jordan, thanks to the British invasion in 1920's. The Theater has 32 levels, and we climbed up to the highest level, to enjoy the view over Jerash. It is quite high, tough! Then, we went down and had a quick visit to the Temple of Zeus. Originally it was surrounded by gigantic columns of 15 meters
Artemis Restaurant, Jerash. Good Restaurant!
high. The temple was build in 162-163 AD. From here, we went back to the exit, walked though the souvenir shops, because it was time for lunch!
The Tour Guide told us that the restaurant on the site of Jerash had a new owner, and the quality wasn't that good anymore, so she found a new one. She told us that she never had took lunch over here, but it should be pretty good. We took lunch at the Artemis Restaurant, close by the site. Here, we could take buffet. They made the flat bread outside, where you could take a look, and make pictures. The bread is placed at the sides of the round oven. Of course, we took bread with hummus and several dips. At the buffet I took rice, pasta with some very hot sauces, beef in white sauces, salad and fried bread. The food was quite good! I really enjoyed eating here. It is a little bit expensive, but it's really worth your money, so I really could advice to take a lunch over here!
After the lunch, we drove back to Madaba. Here, we shopped for some souvenirs. We were invited inside to
take a cup of tea in one of the stores. We really liked it, so I bought a souvenir for at home. Linda went to another souvenir shop. That man sold daggers and other antique. He told us about the decreasing numbers of tourist who still visit Madaba and Jordan nowadays. Many people actually are ignore the Middle-East to visiting, because of the disquiet like in Egypt, Israel, Jemen, and of course the war in Syria. However, Jordan is pretty save and there is not a disquiet like the rest of the Middle-East, but people assume it is, leading to decreasing of the tourism. To be honest, I never felt myself unsafe in Jordan and you really do not feel anything what's going on in the neighbor countries, so that image is not true. And even as woman you be treated very honestly and with much respect such as the man. Linda decide to buy something from the local man, in total 20 JD. It was 5 PM, and it was his first acquisition that day. He told us he hard time to keep it up financial.
From here, we went to the museum in Madaba. We got a tour
Me and the Local Petra Beer
It has to be tasted, and it was very good!
in the museum by a guide, and from here we went to the rooftop. It's open for public and you got an amazing sight of Madaba. And it was even better than in our hotel. You could see the mosque right in front of you and all the houses. The sight is really beautiful and really worth it.
Then, we took a drink in the Ayola Pub. We tried the local Jordan beer, called Petra Beer. It's served in cans of 0,5 liters and with a percentage of 8%. It tasted very good, tough. Here we had dinner. Richard and I chose to try the shiza, water pipe, with apple taste. We really talked a lot, and then we notice that some people ordered later then us a shiza, already went gone. We were smoking it for 2,5 hours, and it still didn't went of. A young man refreshes the coals several times, and he didn't spoke English. So we couldn't ask how long it take to turn it of. So I start texting a friend of me in the Netherlands asking 'can you google how long this shiza stays on?'. And the answer was 'Hours. You only have to
put your hands above it when they are going to refresh the coals'. So we finally did, after 3 hours, hah. The rest of the group we met in the hotel bar of the restaurant. We took a drink and it was time to go to bed for the last night in our hotel. The next day we should go to the South.
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