Day four – Oct.12, 2023 – Off to the Roman Ruins in Jerash

The van picked us up at our hotel today for the ride out to Jerash. It took about an hour of driving past and over many hills and farms.

Daud or Davis, was our driver.

He drove us through the crowded and rising streets up to the top of a mountain.

Jerash lies north of Amman, the capital of Jordan. It has been occupied since the Bronze Age.

This area was conquered by Pompey in 63 BC and Jerash was one of the cities that was under the control of the Roman Decapolis League. The League created mutual security and protection for this area.

The Decapolis League was a group of 10 ancient Greek cities formed in Palestine after the Roman Conquest of 63 bc in Biblical times.

Jerash was very important to the Romans due to its location on the ancient trade routes.

These Greco-Roman ruins here are perhaps the best in the world and are just north of Amman.

They are high on a hill surrounded by houses sitting on every square inch of land around us.

The ruins were discovered under several yards of earth and had to be dug out from under centuries of silt and sand. They were erected by the Romans here around 7500-5500 BC.

There are two coliseums and a hippodrome used for chariot races.

The ruins include the Corinthian Columns of the Temple of Artemis and the huge Forum’s oval colonnade.

Artemis was the Greek Goddess of wild animals, the hunt, vegetation, chastity and childbirth.

The Forum of Jerash was created in the middle of the 1st century AD. It is surrounded by 56 unfluted Ionic columns, each made of four pieces of stone that appear twice their number due to the shadows they cast. The plaza is paved with high-quality limestone slabs.

There are the ruins of small shops attached to the outside of the forum where food and other items would have been sold.

The amphitheater sits below us as we climb up the steep steps to the 2nd century Hadrian’s arch after going pasty many shops and shop keepers trying to sell their wares.

It is one of four gates, one at each point of the compass. We will pass through it as did those people who lived here a thousand of years ago. It seems that not much has really changed here.

This area is a wonder to see. It was destroyed by an earth quake many centuries ago.

This site was discovered as the Jordanian Army tried to set up camp and the stakes hit something hard under the soil. Perhaps the top of a column or arch.

The Amphitheater, the most famous of all the ruins is in fine condition and is still used to day. It was built in the 2nd century AD. It could seat 15,000 people. The City of Jerash was one of the most important in the Roman Empire and once had a population of 20,000 people.

The Temple of Zeus is one of the most impressive structures here at Jerash. It was built in the 1st century AD and is dedicated to ….Zeus, the king of all of the gods in Greek mythology.

The civic authorities are trying to buy more homes in the area in order to find more ancient ruins. It is a balance of course as this city is alive now and those here want their lives to remain undisturbed as much as we would.

The video of this great amphitheater and many photos are on my Facebook page at R.C. Hand.

The Jerash Archaeological Museum here is filled with many displays from antiquity.

There is the large valley below us where the visitors coming here ages ago had to pass through.

We walked through the local markets today and had a typical lunch of humus, ground lamb and pita bread.

The restaurant has been here on earth for 71 years, as I have.

We are still having great weather and learning more about our traveling companions.

There is another married couple, a mother who was a tour director traveling with an adult daughter who is a minister.

We had to go back to the hotel by a different route as some protesting is beginning on some of the roads.

We were lucky and our leaders took us on a very scenic route and we saw nothing and were in no danger.

Tonight we will have dinner at a local restaurant.

I will add more info on history and photos in a few. This is just the frame work, so to speak.