Saturday, April 19, 2008

Jerash, Jordan (April 14, 2008)

Jerash is an ancient Roman city in northern Jordan, considered to be one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world outside of Italy. The site is enormous, with wide collonaded streets connecting temples, theatres, plazas, baths and fountains.

Archaelogists have found signs of human occupation at the site from Neolithic times, but the town first grew into a sizeable city during the reign of Alexander the Great, and reached its peak under Roman rule in the 3rd century AD. During its heyday, Jerash (then known as Gerasa) may have had a population of 20,000 people.

The shifting of trade routes, Persian and Muslim invasions, and a series of earthquakes led to the city's decline and eventual abandonment. It was discovered in 1806 by Ulrich Jasper Seetzen, a German traveler. The city was buried in sand (a prime reason for its preservation), and it has been steadily unearthed through a series of excavations from 1925 to the present.

Hadrian's Arch was built in 129 AD to commemorate the visit of Emperor Hadrian. Behind the arch is the hippodrome, an arena that could once seat 15,000 spectators for chariot races and other sporting events.
The Oval Plaza is 90 m long by 80 m wide, and is surrounded by 1st century Ionic columns. In this photo, you can see part of the Oval Plaza and part of the Colonnaded Street.
The Cardo, or Colonnaded Street, was the city's main thoroughfare and linked the Oval Plaza with the North Gate. The street is 800 m long and flanked by Corinthian columns.
Built in the 1st century AD, the South Theatre seats 3000+ spectators
Beautiful wildflowers were blooming all over the site! In this photo, you can see the Nymphaeum (an ornamental fountain) and the Colonnaded Street behind bright red poppies.
The view from the Oval Plaza, with the ancient city stretching out into the distance

No comments: