Children should be taught about ancient era in Jerash Archeological Site. It is the best preserved Roman city, so it could be the best „class room”. I have to admit, that when I was 10 and learnt about Roman era on my history lesson, I couldn’t image how the Roman cities have looked like and how was the everyday life in those cities. My day trip to Jerash has changed it for good. In this huge and so well preserved city you can see (through the eyes of your imagination) the vibrant life on the main street, people trading on the food market and other ones taking part in theatre performance.
Jerash was established in 4th century BC by Aleksander the Great, but it was the Roman era when the growth of the city was the most significant. Most of the buildings, that we can explore today, were built by Romans. Another important period in city’s life was Byzantium – during that time lot of churches were built by Christians.
We start the visit from Hadrian’s Arch, which was erected in 2nd century AD.
The next place, we’re passing by is hippodrome. I must say it’s not impressive. Well, in ancient time it fitted 1 500 during one show, but today I didn’t notice any interest of other tourists.
The next point on our map, and the main entrance, is Southern Gate. Just few meters away there was a commercial street, with retail stalls and little shops, that have been destroyed during the aerthquake.
We enter Forum – huge oval piazza, surrounded with 56 columns built in Ionic style. Most of the preserved in very good condition.
Next to Oval Forum, on the little hill, there’s a South Theatre (built in I century) with seats for five thousand people. The next building is Temple of Zeus.
Oval Forum and Northern Gate are connected with cardo – the main street in the city. 365 columns were set up on the left and right site of the street. Little paths and streets connects cardo with other significant places for everyday life in the city – public fountain, food market, shops, theatre or baths.
After extension, 1600 people were able to join the show in the North Theatre (II century).
Temple of Artemis has never been finished. 30 pillars were planned but only 12 were erected. Today, there are still 11 of original columns in Temple of Artemis.
Byzantine churches survived until today in much worse condition. But still, you can see the original floor mosaic in Curch of St Cosmas and Damianus.
There was a butcher shop. Today we can still observe marks made by knife.
Nymphaeum was a public fountain with lots of ornaments and shell-shaped basin.
Along the main street you can find parts of columns, destroyed walls, ornaments etc. You can touch all of this parts, you can observe from very short distance, you can sit on it. It’s so different than in typical museum. And that’s the best part of this place – because this makes that you can feel this place, today and how was it hundreds years ago.
HOW TO GET THERE
There’s a bus from North Bus Station in Amman. It leaves the city one a day, around 8:00 am, when is full, and it goes back around 5 pm.
We decided to take a taxi. The price was 45 JOD and we think it was ovepriced.