Ancient City Of Jerash – One Of Jordan’s Most Intriguing Sites

The Ancient City of Jerash in Jordan is calling if you enjoy tales of ancient civilizations wiped off the face of the earth, only to be discovered again thousands of years later.

There are many things which make Jerash in Jordan such a unique place to visit, but one that really stands out is the fact that all visitors to the area tend to agree it is a place you never forget, thanks to its almost unbelievable history and its many ancient relics.

Ancient City Of Jerash

Columns in the ancient city of Jerash, Jordan.

Jerash in Jordan is the capital city of the Jerash Governorate which lies some 48 kilometers away from the country’s capital Amman; if you head north towards Syria. The general landscape is characterized by cold mountains and fertile valleys which provide an ideal environment for growing a wide range of crops.

Ancient City Of Jerash Ravished By Earthquakes And Wars

A large percentage of the ancient city of Jerash was completely destroyed by a massive earthquake sometime around 749 AD. Jerash also suffered further damage from subsequent earthquakes, and from the many conflicts which took place in the area over the years.

The true extent of the destruction remained a secret for hundreds of years since most of the ruins ended up being buried beneath the soil. The true magnitude of the destruction only started coming to light in 1806 when a German explorer by the name of Jasper Seetzen embarked on a number of excavations.

Muslims; Circassians And Syrians

During the period when the area was being excavated, the ancient city of Jerash was mostly inhabited by a relatively small Muslim community. In 1878, following the end of the Russian-Ottoman war, many Circassians immigrated to the area from the Caucasus, and they were soon followed by a large number of Syrians during the early years of the 20th century.

Gerasa – An Ancient Greco-Roman City

According to manuscripts which were discovered, the ancient city of Jerash was also known as Gerasa and Antioch on the Golden River. It is undeniably the most significant historical site in Jerash, attracting tens of thousands of visitors. The ancient city is believed to have been founded by Alexander the Great from Egypt around 331 BC.

Jerash is also considered to be the most significant and also the best preserved Roman city ever discovered, and is quite often referred to as being the “Pompeii of the Middle East” or the “Pompeii of Asia”. However, these references are to the size of the city and to the remarkable level of preservation, bearing in mind that unlike the real Pompeii, Gerasa was never on the receiving end of a volcanic eruption.

Jerash After The Bronze Age

More recent excavations and discoveries have shown that humans already inhabited Jerash during the Bronze Age. It’s also been established that the area was later annexed by the province of Syria which at the time was under Roman rule.

With Roman rule came peace and stability, and this in turn allowed the people of Jerash to focus on development. By AD 106 Jerash had reached such a high level of prosperity, that the Emperor Trajan ordered roads to be built throughout the region, and this only served to attract even more trade.

Jerash continued to expand, and had reached a size of around 800,000 square meters by the time of the Persian invasion in AD 614. Although the Persian invasion sent the city into a spiral of decline, it still managed to continue flourishing. Unfortunately, the massive earthquake which struck in AD 749 destroyed large swaths of the city and the surrounding area.

Modern Day Jerash – A Story Of Success

Jerash has flourished, and especially during the last 100 years. Today, it is one of themost popular Jordan tourist attractions, with the famous Ruins of the Rose City of Petra being the most visited attraction.

Jerash has also become famous for the three-week long Jerash Festival which takes place every summer, and which is routinely attended by the Royal Family. The event includes a vast range of activities, including singing; dancing; Roman Chariot races and even Gladiator fights.

The ancient city of Jerash in Jordan is calling if you enjoy tales of ancient civilizations wiped off the face of the earth, only to be discovered again thousands of years later. It’s not the same as Cairo in Egypt, or the same as Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Jerash in Jordan is simply Jerash, but if there is one historical place you really need to see, then the ancient city of Jerash should rank high on your travel agenda. You can book your tour right now by exploring our Egypt and Jordan Tours.