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
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
600 m (1,968 ft)
city (50,745), Municipality (237.000 est)
• SUMMER (DST )
The Oval Forum and
Cardo Maximus in ancient
JERASH, the GERASA of Antiquity (
Arabic : جرش,
Ancient Greek :
Γέρασα), is the capital and the largest city of Jerash
Governorate (محافظة جرش), which is situated in the north of
Jordan , 48 kilometres (30 mi) north of the capital
Jerash Governorate's geographical features vary from cold
mountains to fertile valleys from 250 to 300 metres (820 to 980 ft)
above sea level, suitable for growing a wide variety of crops.
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 into the mid-eighth century CE, when the 749
Galilee earthquake destroyed large parts of Jerash, while subsequent
847 Damascus earthquake ) along with wars and turmoil
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
Artemis into a fortress. It was captured in
1121 by Baldwin
King of Jerusalem , and utterly destroyed. Then, the Crusaders
Jerash and withdrew to
Sakib (Seecip); the
eastern border of the settlement.
Jerash was then deserted until it
reappeared in the Ottoman tax registers in the Sixteenth Century
(1538, 1548, 1596); it had -for example- a population of 12 households
in 1596. However, the archaeologists have found a small Mamluk hamlet
in the Northwest Quarter which indicates that
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
1806 , the German traveler,
Ulrich Jasper Seetzen , came across
and wrote about the ruins he recognized.
1885 , the Ottoman authorities directed the Circassian immigrants
to settle in Jerash.
The ancient city has been gradually revealed through a series of
excavations which commenced in
1925 , and continue to this day.
* 1 History
* 1.2 Hellenistic period
* 1.3 Roman period
* 1.4 Byzantine period
* 1.5 Early Muslim period
* 1.6 Crusader period
* 1.7 Mid to Late Muslim period
* 2 Climate
* 3 Archaeology
* 3.1 Neolithic age
* 3.2 Greco-Roman period
* 4 Modern
* 4.1 Territorial expansion
* 4.2 Demographic evolution
* 5 Culture and entertainment
* 6 Economy
* 7 Tourism
* 8 Gallery
* 9 See also
* 10 References
* 11 External links
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 as well as literary sources from both
Iamblichus and the
Etymologicum Magnum support that the city was
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great or his general
Perdiccas , who settled
aged Macedonian soldiers there. This took place during the spring of
331 BC, when Alexander left Egypt, crossed
Syria and then went to
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 90,
Jerash was absorbed into the
Roman province of Arabia , which included the city of Philadelphia
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 to be one of the most original and best
preserved Roman cities in the
Near East . 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 never destroyed and buried by a single
cataclysmic event, such as a volcanic eruption.
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. A remarkable Latin
inscription records a religious dedication set up by members of the
imperial mounted bodyguard wintering there.
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 built
Jerash in AD 530 there was discovered a mosaic floor with Hebrew
inscription, believed to have once been a synagogue.
EARLY MUSLIM PERIOD
Despite its decline, the city continued to flourish during the
Umayyad period, as shown by recent excavations. In AD 749, a major
earthquake destroyed much of
Jerash and its surroundings.
During the period of the
Crusades , some of the monuments were
converted to fortresses, including the
MID TO LATE MUSLIM PERIOD
Small settlements continued in
Jerash during the Mamluk Sultanate ,
and Ottoman periods. Patricullary in the Northwest Quarter and around
Temple of Zues, where several Middle Islamic/Mamluk domestic
structures have now been excavated.
CLIMATE DATA FOR JERASH, JORDAN (648M)
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
In August 2015, two human skulls dating back to Neolithic period
Jerash which forms solid evidence of inhabitance of
Jordan in that period especially with the existence of \'Ain Ghazal
Neolithic settlement in
An archaeological excavation team from the University of
recently unearthed two human skulls that date back to the Neolithic
period (7500–5500 BC) at a site in Jerash.
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.
Map of the
Decapolis showing the location of Gerasa (Jerash)
Jerash nymphaeum .
Remains in the Greco-Roman
* Numerous Corinthium columns
Hadrian 's Arch
* The circus/hippodrome
* The two large temples (dedicated to
* The nearly unique oval Forum , which is surrounded by a fine
* 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
* 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,
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.
Jerash The Arch of
Hadrian was built to honour the
visit of Emperor
Hadrian to Gerasa in 129/130 AD. The oval
Jerash has developed dramatically in the last century with the
growing importance of the tourism industry to 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 became a destination for many successive waves of foreign
migrants. The first wave started during the late 19th century with
Circassians , followed during the first half of the 20th
century by Syrians (Shwam), all camping near the old ruins. The new
immigrants have been welcomed by the local people and settled down in
the reemerging city. Later,
Jerash also witnessed waves of Palestinian
refugees who flowed to the city in 1948 and 1967.
Jerash has an ethnically diverse population, with the majority being
Circassians and Armenians also live there in a small
percentage. The majority of Jerash's population are Muslims. However,
the percentage of Christians (Orthodox and Catholics) in
is slightly higher than some other cities in Jordan.
According to the
Jordan national census of 2004, the population of
Jerash City was 31,650 and was ranked as the 14th largest municipality
in Jordan. The estimated population in 2010 is about 42,000. The
National census of 2004 showed that the population of the province of
Jerash Governorate was 153,650. 78,440 (51%) of the population was
urban and 75,162 was rural. Jordanian citizens made up 87.1% of the
Jerash Governorate. The male to female ratio was 51.48
Jerash Governorate has the second highest density in Jordan
Irbid Governorate ).
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 11am and at 2pm, and at 10am 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 depends largely on the tourists who visit the
ancient city. It is also an agricultural city with over 1.25 million
olive trees in the Governorate. However, the location of Jerash,
being just half an hour ride from two of the largest cities in Jordan,
Irbid , contributed to the slowing down of Jerash's
development, as investments tend to go to the larger cities. Jerash
has two universities;
Jerash Private University and Philadelphia
University , and they are located on the highway from
Jerash to Amman.
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
international culture during the summer months.
Jerash is located 46
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
proved to be not up to the message intended from the festival."
The cardo maximus
Enriched mouldings on the
View of Columns at
Exorcism of the Gerasene demoniac
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* ^ "CLIMATE: Jerash". Climate-Data. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
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Jerash". 15 August 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
Jordan National Census,