Jerash & the Decapolis cities

Known as Gerasa in some old Roman records, it is the capital of Jerash province now a day, 50 kilometers to the north of the capital Amman, one of the north western cities in Jordan, suited in green fertile area with moderate weather and rain rates of more than 250 mm annually, suitable for growing many kinds of crops The new town surrounds the old roman – Greek old city, the strong famous earthquake in 749 A.D destroyed large parts of the old city, where it is believed that the old city was abandoned after the earthquake, the old ruins were re-inhabited by the Circassian immigrants late nineteenth century Inhabitation in Jerash like most of Jordan had begun since several centuries B.C, where as the old Roman – Hellenistic ruins (Jerash old city) remains the main archaeological attraction there, where it was probably established by Alexander the great to settle the Macedonian old aged warriors, in the old Greek records the city was referred as Antioch on the golden river, the valley that penetrates the old city was a running river one day, the Greek city then revolved around the Seleucids and Ptolemy’s until the Roman era, Jerash was one of the Decapolis cities anyhow, in 63 B.C Jerash and all the territories outside the Nabateans areas of influence felled under the Roman rule, Jerash had witnessed its second period of prosperity under the Roman rule where several huge monuments were added to the city and it seems there was a plan to expand the city boundaries which was not finished, Romans ensured security and peace for long time which was reflected on Jerash, the emperor Trajan repaired the existing roads and added new trade routes since 106 A.D, followed by Emperor Hadrian visit 129 A.D where a triumphal arch was erected in tribute of this visit at the very southern side of Jerash old city, the city seemed to be reaching its golden era and kept flourishing during the Byzantine era as well, the 614 second Persian invasion caused some decline to Jerash, flourished again during the Umayyad period (early Islamic period) until 749 A.D earthquake where the city was abandoned, several local settlements were established around but the old city remained empty, during the crusades period some of the old Roman buildings were re-used as fortress, Small settlements continued in Jerash during the Ayyubid, Mamluk Sultanate, and Ottoman periods

 

Remains in the Greco-Roman Jerash include:

Numerous Corinthian columns
Hadrian’s Arch
The circus/hippodrome
The two large temples (dedicated to Zeus and Artemis)
The nearly unique oval Forum, which is surrounded by a fine colonnade,
The long colonnaded street or cardo
Two theatres (the Large South Theatre and smaller North Theatre)
Two communal baths, and a scattering of small temples
A large Nymphaeum fed by an aqueduct
An almost complete circuit of city walls, of 3 kilometers long
A water powered saw mill for cutting stone
Two large bridges across the nearby river
It is believed that most of the huge buildings in Jerash old city were built personal donations of the upper class in the city, Christianity spread out since middle of 4th century where many churches were constructed since that time 

 

Modern Jerash and Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts:

The old city has developed a lot recently, many excavations and restoration took place there, the old city is a main highlight within the tourism map in Jordan, since 1981 the old city of Jerash is hosting Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts it is three weeks long summer festival of dance, music, and theater performance, beside the Roman Army and Chariots Race organized regularly in the hippodrome