Jerash, a city in Jordan rich with cultural heritage, is an archaeological wonder of the world. Founded during the Hellenistic period by veterans from Alexander the Great’s army more than 2,000 years ago, Jerash is renowned for its well-preserved ruins and monuments of the Roman Empire. Stretching across 25 hectares, Jerash boasts two amphitheaters and several temples dedicated to gods such as Zeus and Artemis, as well as a triumphal arch honoring Emperor Hadrian. The streets are lined with colonnades while Roman architecture showcases the grandeur of this ancient city.
The temple of Artemis is especially noteworthy; built in 150 AD it was once filled with thousands of worshippers every day who paid tribute to the goddess of hunting and wilderness. Other highlights include grandiose Nymphaeum fountains that were used for ceremonial purposes like baptisms or banquets, and plazas where gladiators would perform chariot racing demonstrations for spectators. The Byzantine church at Jerash reflects its conversion to Christianity in 327 A.D., and one can find evidence of Ottoman occupation from 1516 to 1918 on the walls around the city’s gates and fortifications.
In addition to touring the breathtaking monuments and ruins at Jerash itself, visitors will also discover important archaeological sites nearby such as Ajloun Castle which dates back to 1184 A.D., and Umm Qais which was founded in 331 B.C by Greek Macedonian rulers as Gadara. To gain an even deeper appreciation for this remarkable region of Jordan, one should watch “The Roman City of Jerash: An Archaeological Mystery” documentary which provides viewers with a captivating glimpse into this fabled metropolis through interviews with historians, archaeologists, and local experts—allowing one to fully experience its history without having to leave their home.