Coordinates: 32°16′20.21″N 35°53′29.03″E /
32.2722806°N 35.8913972°E / 32.2722806; 35.8913972
Gerasa (Ancient Greek)
The Roman city of Gerasa and the modern
Jerash (in the background).
Pompeii of the East, The city of 1000 columns
Coordinates: 32°16′20.21″N 35°53′29.03″E /
32.2722806°N 35.8913972°E / 32.2722806; 35.8913972
7500 – 5500 BC.
600 m (1,968 ft)
city (50,745), Municipality (237.000 est)
• Summer (DST)
The Oval Forum and
Cardo Maximus in ancient Jerash
Jerash (Arabic: جرش, Ancient Greek: Γέρασα), is the capital
and the largest city of
Jerash Governorate, Jordan, with a population
of 50,745 as of 2015. Located 48 kilometres (30 mi) north of the
capital of Jordan, Amman.
The history of the city is a blend of the
Greco-Roman world of the
Mediterranean Basin and the ancient traditions of the Arab Orient.
The name of the city reflects this interaction. The earliest
Arab/Semitic inhabitants, who lived in the area during the
pre-classical period of the 1st millennium BCE, named their village
Garshu. The Romans later Hellenized the former
Arabic name of Garshu
into Gerasa. Later, the name transformed into the
The city flourished until the mid-eighth century CE, when the 749
Galilee earthquake destroyed large parts of it, while subsequent
Damascus earthquake) contributed to additional
destruction. However, In the early 12th century, by the year 1120,
Zahir ad-Din Toghtekin, atabeg of
Damascus ordered a garrison of forty
men stationed in
Jerash to convert the Temple of
Artemis into a
fortress. It was captured in 1121 by Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem,
and utterly destroyed. Then, the Crusaders immediately abandoned
Jerash and withdrew to
Sakib (Seecip); the eastern border of the
Jerash was then deserted until it reappeared by the beginning of the
Ottoman rule in the early 16th century. In the census of 1596, it had
a population of 12
Muslim households. However, the archaeologists
have found a small Mamluk hamlet in the Northwest Quarter which
Jerash was resettled before the Ottoman era. The
excavations conducted since 2011 have shed light on the Middle Islamic
period as recent discoveries have uncovered a large concentration of
Middle Islamic/Mamluk structures and pottery.
In 1806, the German traveler, Ulrich Jasper Seetzen, came across and
wrote about the ruins he recognized. The ancient city has been
gradually revealed through a series of excavations which commenced in
1925, and continue to this day.
1.2 Bronze age
1.3 Hellenistic period
1.4 Roman period
1.5 Byzantine period
1.7 Crusade period
1.8 Mid to Late
3.1 Greco-Roman period
4 Modern Jerash
4.1 Territorial expansion
5 Culture and entertainment
10 See also
12 External links
Archaeologists have found ruins of settlements dating back to the
Neolithic Age. Moreover, in August 2015, an archaeological excavation
team from the University of
Jordan unearthed two human skulls that
date back to the
Neolithic period (7500–5500 BC) at a site in
Jerash, which forms solid evidence of inhabitance of
Jordan in that
period especially with the existence of
'Ain Ghazal Neolithic
settlement in Amman. The importance of the discovery lies in the
rarity of the skulls, as archaeologists estimate that a maximum of 12
sites across the world contain similar human remains.
Evidence of settlements dating to the
Bronze Age (3200 BC –
1200 BC) have been found in the region.
Jerash is the site of the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa,
also referred to as Antioch on the Golden River. Ancient Greek
inscriptions from the city support that the city was founded by
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great and his general Perdiccas, who allegedly settled
aged Macedonian soldiers there during the spring of 331 BC, when he
left Egypt and crossed
Syria en route to Mesopotamia. However, other
sources, namely the city's former name of "Antioch on the
Chrysorrhoas, point to a founding by
Seleucid King Antioch IV, while
still others attribute the founding to
Ptolemy II of Egypt.
After the Roman conquest in 63 BC,
Jerash and the land surrounding it
were annexed to the
Roman province of Syria, and later joined the
Decapolis league of cities. In AD 106,
Jerash was absorbed into the
Roman province of Arabia, which included the city of Philadelphia
(modern day Amman). The Romans ensured security and peace in this
area, which enabled its people to devote their efforts and time to
economic development and encouraged civic building activity.
Jerash is considered one of the largest and most well-preserved sites
of Roman architecture in the world outside Italy. And is sometimes
misleadingly referred to as the "
Pompeii of the Middle East" or of
Asia, referring to its size, extent of excavation and level of
Jerash was the birthplace of the mathematician
Nicomachus of Gerasa
(Greek: Νικόμαχος) (c. 60 – c. 120 AD).
In the second half of the 1st century AD, the city of
great prosperity. In AD 106, the Emperor
Trajan constructed roads
throughout the province, and more trade came to Jerash. The Emperor
Jerash in AD 129–130. The triumphal arch (or Arch of
Hadrian) was built to celebrate his visit.
The city finally reached a size of about 800,000 square meters within
its walls. The Persian invasion in AD 614 caused the rapid decline
of Jerash. Beneath the foundations of a Byzantine church that was
Jerash in AD 530 there was discovered a mosaic floor with
ancient Greek and Hebrew-Aramaic inscriptions. The presence of the
Hebrew-Aramaic script has led scholars to think that the place was
formerly a synagogue, before being converted into a church.
Hebrew-Aramaic mosaic found in foundation of Byzantine Church built in
The city flourished during the Umayyad Caliphate. It had numerous
shops and issued coins with the mint named "Jerash" in Arabic. It was
also a center for ceramic manufacture; moulded ceramic lamps had
Arabic inscriptions that showed the potter's name and
Jerash as the
place of manufacture. The large mosque and several churches that
continued to be used as places of worship, indicated that during the
Jerash had a sizable
Muslim community that co-existed
with the Christians. In CE 749, a devastating earthquake destroyed
Jerash and its surroundings.
In the early 12th century the Temple of
Artemis was converted into a
fortress by a garrison stationed in the area by the Zahir ad-Din
Toghtekin, atabeg of Damascus. Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, captured
and burned the fortress in CE 1121–1122. The inner faces of the
temple walls still clearly show the effect of the great fire.
Mid to Late
Small settlements continued in
Jerash during the Mamluk Sultanate, and
Ottoman periods. Patricullary in the Northwest Quarter and around the
Temple of Zues, where several Middle Islamic/Mamluk domestic
structures have now been excavated.
Climate data for Jerash,
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Source: climate Data
Excavation and restoration of
Jerash has been almost continuous since
Map of the
Decapolis showing the location of Gerasa (Jerash)
Remains in the Greco-Roman
Numerous Corinthium columns
The Tetrapylon of Jerash
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
Nymphaeum fed by an aqueduct
An almost complete circuit of city walls
A water powered saw mill for cutting stone
Two large bridges across the nearby river.
Most of these monuments were built by donations of the city's wealthy
citizens. The south theatre has a focus in the centre of the pit in
front of the stage, marked by a distinct stone, and from which normal
speaking can be heard easily throughout the auditorium. From AD 350, a
large Christian community lived in Jerash, and between AD 400–600,
more than thirteen churches were built, many with superb mosaic
floors. A cathedral was built in the 4th century. An ancient synagogue
with detailed mosaics, including the story of Noah, was found beneath
a church. The use of water power to saw wood or stone is well known in
the Greek and Roman world, the invention in Greece occurring in the
3rd century BC. They converted rotary movement from the mill to linear
motion using a crankshaft and good examples are known from Hierapolis
Ephesus to the north. The mill is well described in the visitors
centre, and is situated near the Temple of Artemis.
A sidewalk at the downtown.
The Arch of
Hadrian was built to honour the visit of Emperor Hadrian
to Gerasa in 129/130 AD.
The oval Forum
Jerash has developed dramatically in the last century with the growing
importance of the tourism industry in the city.
Jerash is now the
second-most popular tourist attraction in Jordan, closely behind the
splendid ruins of Petra. On the western side of the city, which
contained most of the representative buildings, the ruins have been
carefully preserved and spared from encroachment, with the modern city
sprawling to the east of the river which once divided ancient Jerash
Recently the city of
Jerash has expanded to include many of the
Jerash has an ethnically diverse population. The vast majority are
Arabs, though the population includes small numbers of Kurds,
Circassians and Armenians. A majority is Muslim.
According to the
Jordan national census of 2004, the population of the
city was 31,650 and was ranked as the 14th largest municipality in
Jordan. According to the last national census in 2015, the population
of the city was 50,745, while the population of the governorate was
Jerash became a destination for many successive waves of foreign
migrants. In 1885, the Ottoman authorities directed the Circassian
immigrants who were mainly of peasant stock to settle in Jerash, and
distributed arable land among them. The new immigrants have been
welcomed by the local people. Later,
Jerash also witnessed waves of
Palestinian refugees who flowed to the region in 1948 and 1967. The
Palestinian refugees settled in two camps;
Souf camp near the town of
Souf and Gaza (Jerash) camp at Al Ḩaddādah village.
Culture and entertainment
Since 1981, the old city of
Jerash has hosted the
Jerash Festival of
Culture and Arts, a three-week-long summer program of dance,
music, and theatrical performances. The festival is frequently
attended by members of the royal family of
Jordan and is hailed as one
of the largest cultural activities in the region.
In addition performances of the Roman Army and Chariot Experience
(RACE) were started at the hippodrome in Jerash. The show runs twice
daily, at 11 am and at 2 pm, and at 10 am on Fridays,
except Tuesdays. It features forty-five legionaries in full armour in
a display of Roman army drill and battle tactics, ten gladiators
fighting "to the death" and several Roman chariots competing in a
classical seven-lap race around the ancient hippodrome.
Jerash's economy largely depends on commerce and tourism.
also a main source of the highly educated and skilled workforce in
Jordan. The location of the city, being just half an hour ride from
the largest three cities in
Zarqa and Irbid), makes
Jerash a good business location.
Jerash has two universities;
Jerash Private University
Jerash Private University and
The number of tourists who visited the ancient city of
214,000 during 2005. The number of non-Jordanian tourists was 182,000
last year, and the sum of entry charges reached JD900,000. The
Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts is an annual celebration of Arabic
and international culture during the summer months.
Jerash is located
48 km north of the capital city of Amman. The festival site is
located within the ancient ruins of Jerash, some of which date to the
Roman age (63 BC).
Jerash Festival is a festival which features
poetry recitals, theatrical performances, concerts and other forms of
art. In 2008, authorities launched
Jordan Festival, a nationwide
theme-oriented event under which
Jerash Festival became a
component. However the government revived the
Jerash Festival as
the "substitute (
Jordan Festival) proved to be not up to the message
intended from the festival."
The cardo maximus
Enriched mouldings on the Temple of Artemis
Northern Tetrapylon, Jerash
North Tetrapylon, Jerash
View of Columns at Jerash
Inscriptions at Jerash
Exorcism of the Gerasene demoniac
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Jerash Festival Of Culture & Arts مهرجان جرش
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jerash.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Jerash.
Brown, J., E. Meyers, R. Talbert, T. Elliott, S. Gillies. "Places:
678158 (Gerasa/Antiochia ad Chrysorhoam)". Pleiades. Retrieved 8 March
2012. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
Gadara (Umm Qais)
Capitolias (Beit Ras)
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