“Gerasa”, “Pompeii of the East”, “The city of 1000 columns”
12th of June, 2011
Gerasa in antiquity, nowadays Jerash, is a greatly conserved Roman city from the Decapolis group, those were 10 cities on the Eastern Frontier of the Roman Empire in Judea and Syria.
The most complete and well preserved city of the Roman Empire, it was often called Pompeii of the East. Nestled in a green and well-watered valley in the biblical land of Gilead, the remains of the ancient city have long attracted tourists from all around the world.
Wander among the original temples, theatres, plazas, paths and colonnaded streets; all enclosed within the remaining city walls. Within the city walls have been found the remains of settlements dating from the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Umayyad and Abbasid periods, indicating human occupation at this location for more than 2,500 years.
Arriving here from Amman is very easy. All you need to do is making you way into Tabarbour bus station. This is located in Urdun Street near the Tareq area. From here frequent buses leave for Jerash for only around 1JD. Calculate for the journey around 1 hour although it’s less.
If you start your day early enough, you can take the bus to Ajloun instead and see the castle. Then take another bus from Ajloun to Jerash, and you will be still having plenty of time to spend at Jerash.
The most impressive sight inside the city is the unique oval shape forum. This is truly rare, since every Roman city was built on a perfect grid of perpendicular street, based on the centre, the Forum, also square or rectangular, but not oval. From the Forum, the Cardo Maximus keeps most if it’s columns on both sides of the street, making both an impressive sight. Also the Hippodrome is beautifully preserved, and you can see carriages competitions as part of the tour.
There is no need to pay for the Hippodrome, as this is located outside of the city itself and the walls, and also the Arch of Hadrian is accessible to anyone without ticket.
To access anything else you will need to pay the entrance fee, which is in any case, worth it, and of course, it’s not a rip off as Petra. The South Theatre and South Gate are great sights too.