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A Walk Through Time: A Visit to Jerash Ruins

Jun 29

As you walk along the bustling street full of cars and lined with restaurants, you may not realize that just off this busy strip lies an ancient city frozen in time. This is Jerash, once a thriving metropolis of the Roman province of Syria and now one of the best-preserved sites of Roman architecture outside of Italy.

Walking through the ruins of Jerash is like taking a step back in time - a time when the city flourished with trade and prosperity, where 20,000 people called it home, and where Emperors like Hadrian even sojourned for an entire year.

Join us on a walk-through as we explore the wonders of Jerash Ruins in Jordan, a visit that will highlight any journey through the Middle East.



A brief overview of Jerash ruins

Jerash Ruins, also known as the "Pompeii of the Middle East," is one of the best-preserved sites of Roman architecture outside Italy. Inhabited since the Neolithic period, Jerash thrived during the Roman conquest. It reached its zenith in the late second and early third century with a population as high as 20,000.

The city's prosperity declined after an earthquake in 747 AD, and the city was abandoned in the 12th century. Today, the well-preserved ruins of Jerash offer a glimpse into the city's ancient past. The ruins include impressive structures such as Hadrian's Arch, the Oval Forum, the Cardo Maximus, and many more.

Jerash ruins are open to visitors throughout the year, and the entrance fee is 12 JD for foreigners. You can visit the site on a day trip from Amman or as part of a longer road trip. Practical tips such as the best time to visit, how to get there, and notable sites within the ruins can help you plan your visit to Jerash Ruins.

A visit to Jerash Ruins is a must for history buffs, archaeology enthusiasts, and anyone who wants to experience the ancient wonders of Jordan. [1][2]



Importance of visiting the site

The Jerash ruins are an incredibly significant historical site that is often overlooked. Visiting this site is not only an eye-opening experience, but it also provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in the history of a once-thriving Roman city. 

Jerash was critical in the ancient world, serving as a trading hub and cultural centre. The city was one of the most prosperous in the region, and its ruins offer glimpses into the lifestyle of its inhabitants. Walking around the site is like stepping back in time, allowing visitors to appreciate the value of preserving historical sites and artefacts.

The ruins help us appreciate the continued importance of cross-cultural exchange and the influence of empires and their people on the world. It's also an opportunity to celebrate Arab culture and its rich history. 

Jerash Ruins is suitable for individuals, couples, families, and groups. It's the perfect place to get a little bit of exercise while exploring its many temples, amphitheatres, and public squares. It's a destination that appeals to both adventurers seeking to learn and history buffs alike. 

The site gives us a chance to experience history hands-on, an adventure that shouldn't be missed. [3][4]


History of the city from the Neolithic period up to the Roman conquest

Jerash has a long and rich history dates back to the Neolithic period. Archaeologists have found ruins of settlements dating back to 7500 BC. The city began to thrive with the arrival of the Roman civilization and became a part of the Roman province of Syria after the Roman conquest in 64 BC. Trade with Nabateans travelling around Jerash from Petra helped the city prosper in its early years.

The city flourished the most between the 1st and 7th centuries when most of the structures were built and the city got its final shape. At its peak, Jerash had a population of 20,000 in the 3rd century. The city's decline is closely connected with the earthquake in 747, and although it was not abandoned yet, many people left, and Jerash lost its importance.

The ruined city of Jerash is Jordan's largest and most interesting Roman site and a major tourist drawcard right after Petra. The Romans ensured security and peace in this area, which enabled its people to devote their efforts and time to economic development and civic building activity.

Beneath the foundations of a Byzantine church that was built in Jerash in AD 530, there was discovered a mosaic floor with ancient Greek and Hebrew-Aramaic inscriptions, leading scholars to think that the place was formerly a synagogue before being converted into a church.

Jerash was invaded by Persian Sassanids in AD 614 and a few years later the Byzantine army was defeated in the battle of the Yarmouk river by the invading Muslim forces. [5][6]



The prosperity of the city in the 1st to 7th century

Between the 1st and 7th century AD, Jerash enjoyed a period of prosperity and affluence. Trade routes connecting Jerash to the ports of Tyre and Joppa allowed the city to interact with other cultures and enabled it to become a wealthy city. Under the Roman Empire, the city became a part of the Decapolis, a group of ten semi-autonomous cities.

Emperor Trajan constructed Via Nova Traiana, which paved the King's Highway and connected Jerash to the provincial capital of Bosra. Greek customs and culture culturally influenced the city throughout this time, evident in the temples of Greek gods and goddesses erected during the period.

The city continued to prosper under the Byzantine Empire, and many buildings and structures in Jerash today date from the 2nd century AD. The Baths of Flaccu were built in the 5th century, and the city's Hippodrome remained used for chariot races.

The city was visited by Emperor Hadrian in the year 129 AD, and his visit was celebrated with the construction of a triumphal arch. The Romans also constructed a temple honouring Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and the patron goddess of Jerash, during this time.

Today, visitors can still explore the ruins of this once-prosperous city and marvel at the incredible feats of architecture from this era. [7][8]



The decline of the city and its abandonment

The decline of Jerash came with a devastating earthquake in 747 AD. While it was not entirely abandoned then, many people left the city, and it gradually lost its importance. Although the city was converted into a Crusader garrison in the 12th century, it was completely abandoned, and the ruins were only rediscovered in the 19th century.

Despite this, the ruins of Jerash have remained remarkably well-preserved, perhaps due to the desert climate. Today, visitors worldwide marvel at the city's incredible size and striking collection of archways, theatres, baths, public buildings, temples, and collonaded streets. One of the largest Greco-Roman settlements in the region, Jerash has played a crucial role in the history of the Middle East, and experiencing its ruins is a humbling and inspiring experience.

The ruins are right in the middle of the city and not in a deserted location, making it easy for visitors to explore. Although Jerash is not an off-the-beaten-path destination, it is still worth visiting due to its historical significance and incredible ruins. [9][10]



Opening hours and entrance fees

Discover the incredible Jerash ruins, a must-visit destination with rich history and culture. To maximize your experience, familiarize yourself with the opening hours and entrance fees.

The site welcomes visitors daily from 7:30 am to 7:00 pm, offering ample time to explore its diverse attractions. Adult admission is priced at 12 dinars, including access to the archaeological museum. Meanwhile, children aged 6 to 15 pay a nominal 2 dinar fee, and those under 6 enjoy free entry.

Considering the Jordan Pass may prove valuable if you visit multiple sites throughout the country. This inclusive pass grants entry to Jerash, among numerous other attractions. Upon arrival, explore the quaint souq at the entrance, where you can find food, drinks, and complimentary restroom facilities.

For an additional perk, remember that possessing a Jordanian SIM card grants you free entrance to Jerash. Verify opening hours and entrance fees before your visit, ensuring a seamless and stress-free experience. With proper planning, you can avoid disappointments like closed sites or inadequate cash for admission fees.

Prepare for your adventure and immerse yourself in the captivating experience of the Jerash ruins! [11][12]



Best time to visit

If you're planning a trip to Jerash ruins, it's important to consider the best time to visit. The ideal time would be from April to June or September to November when the weather is milder and more comfortable for walking around the ruins. 

July and August can be extremely hot and crowded, so it's best to avoid those months if possible. It's also important to note the site's opening hours, as they vary throughout the year. If you're looking to beat the crowds, starting your day early is recommended to have Jerash mostly to yourself. 

The site is open from 8 AM until 4 PM during the winter months of November to March and until 8 PM during the summer. If you plan to visit during Ramadan or on Fridays and national holidays, be aware that the site may close earlier. 

Don't forget to purchase your entrance ticket to save on costs and time. With its rich history and archaeological wonders, visiting Jerash is a must-do activity in Jordan. So plan your visit thoughtfully and come prepared for an unforgettable experience. [13][14]


How to get there

Getting to Jerash ruins in Jordan is easy, no matter where you come from. Whether in Amman, Petra or Aqaba, you can take public transportation, like buses or taxis. 

For those coming from Amman, the most convenient way to get to Jerash is by bus, which departs from Abdali bus station. You can also take a taxi, which is a bit faster but more expensive. If you come from another city like Petra, you can also take a direct bus to Jerash. It takes around 4 hours to get there by bus. If you prefer to hire a private car, it is also an option, but it can be more expensive. 

Once you get to Jerash city, the ruins are just a short walk from the centre, so it is easy to reach them on foot. However, if you prefer to take a taxi, negotiate a price before getting in the car. If you are driving to Jerash, there is a parking area just outside the entrance gate where you can park your car for a small fee. 

Overall, getting to Jerash ruins is hassle-free, with many transportation options. It is up to you to decide which one is more convenient for you. [15][16]



Practical tips for visitors

For those planning a trip to the Jerash ruins, a few practical tips can help make the experience more enjoyable. 

Firstly, starting the day as early as possible is advisable, particularly during peak tourist season. This will help visitors beat the crowds and ensure ample time to explore the ruins without feeling rushed.

Secondly, visitors should dress comfortably and wear sturdy walking shoes, as quite a bit of walking is involved. The ruins are also exposed to the sun, so bringing a hat and sunscreen is a good idea. 

Visitors should also bring plenty of water and snacks, as the site has limited stores and restaurants. It is also important to note that while the site is generally safe, visitors should still be cautious and aware of their surroundings.

Finally, visitors should respect the site and its history and refrain from climbing or touching any of the ruins. Following these tips can help visitors make the most of their time exploring the fascinating ancient city of Jerash. [17][18]



Overview of notable sites within the ruins

As you wander through the ancient city of Jerash, you will encounter several notable sites that glimpse the city's rich history.

One of the most impressive sites is the South Theatre, which once seated up to 3,000 people and featured a stunning backdrop of the surrounding hills. The Temple of Artemis is another popular site known for its intricate carvings and beautiful columns.

The Oval Plaza, which served as the city's main social hub, is also a must-see, with its impressive fountain and expansive area for public gatherings. As you make your way down the Cardo, Jerash's ancient shopping street, you'll be transported back to the bustling markets of the Roman era.

Don't miss the chance to marvel at Hadrian's Arch, a grand entranceway that once marked the boundary of the ancient city. And be sure to keep an ear out for the sounds of traditional Arab bagpipes and drums, often played by locals in the South Theatre.

With so many fascinating sites to explore, visiting Jerash is a step back. [19][20]



Encouragement for readers to visit Jerash themselves

If you have a penchant for history and archaeology, Jerash is a must-visit destination in Jordan that you wouldn't want to miss. With its well-preserved Roman structures, intricate Greco-Roman architecture, and over 2000 years of history, visiting Jerash offers a walk-through time that you won't soon forget.

Although the site is not off the beaten path and is quite touristy, it is still worth the visit, especially if you arrive early in the morning when the site is almost empty. With its proximity to the capital, it is easy to get to, and the opening hours vary depending on the season.

The entrance fee may seem steep, but with the Jordan Pass, you'll have access to most of the major sites in the country, including the one in Jerash. With little effort, you can wander around the temples, water fountains, plazas, theatres, columns, and arches and be transported into ancient times.

You won't regret putting Jerash on your travel bucket list. So, if you're planning a trip to Jordan, make sure to include Jerash in your itinerary and experience its rich history and culture. [21][22]