The history and attractions of the city of Jerash.
Jerash (Jarash) is a provincial town located in the North of Jordan, whose population is around 30,000 people. It is of considerable interest to foreign tourists and is the second most visited place in the country, after the ancient city of Petra. Jerash is divided into two parts: ancient and modern. They are in close proximity to each other, and they are separated by only a wall. The entrance to the historical area of Jarash paid . to maintain the condition of the unique monuments of architecture and culture in the proper form.
It is believed that the first settlements on the site of the modern Jerash has arisen in the Neolithic period, i.e. in the period when culture inhabited this region people has changed from assign (gatherers, hunters) to producing (cattle, agriculture) the type of farming. And when you consider that in the middle East, the Neolithic period began about 9500 years BC you can imagine how much history it keeps ancient Jerash. People are attracted by beautiful nature, fertile soil and green hills of this region, allowing them to find food and shelter from the scorching sun.
In 63 BC, Jerash was conquered by the Roman army and included in the so-called Decapolis (the ten towns), representing a group of ten antique cities on the East of Jordan valley. City of the Decapolis were in government, had a certain degree of autonomy and were centers of Greek and Roman culture around them among the Nabataean, Aramaic and Jewish settlements.
The era of Roman rule is considered the Golden age of Jerash . who wore at that time the name of Gerasa (Garash). During this time the small town had turned into striking with its scale Roman settlement, built in compliance with all rules and laws of urban planning of those years. Moreover, when the 129 year old Roman Emperor Hadrian decided to visit Jerash . for his arrival was erected a triumphal arch. This grandiose structure was established almost half a kilometer from the southern gate of the city, with the expectation that the city will develop in this way. However, this was not true and therefore the arch is still standing a little away from ancient Jerash .
Later in the 4th-5th centuries the city fell under the possession of the Byzantine Empire formed and became an important center of Christianity. By that time there were already about 15 churches, located in historic buildings and new, specially built.
The last rulers of Jerash . after the battle in the year 636, the Arabs became the ancestors of the great dynasty of caliphs, the Umayyads. But as follows from the annalistic sources, in a smooth and regular life of the citizens none of the rulers strong pressure is provided. Tragic ending of Jerash was the strongest earthquake of the year 749 . which destroyed the city and forced the surviving inhabitants to leave forever. After a couple centuries, during the Crusades, the city was again buried under a massive mudslide caused by long downpours. But that’s what saved the city from ruin and under a layer of earth and sand have preserved it to our days almost entirely.
The city again began to build up only in the late 19th century, when it was decided to settle who fled from the Caucasus to the Circassians. Their settlement they founded on the site of the Eastern part of Jerash, and this half of the city was inaccessible to introduced in 1925 archaeological site. Therefore, tourists have the opportunity to see only half excavated ancient Jerash, and they can only guess what other secrets may be hidden in the bowels of modern Jerash .
Jerash is a unique provincial Roman city . located so far from Rome. Here you can see the ancient cobbled streets, lined with rocks of different periods, colonnades, amphitheaters, ancient temples dedicated to Zeus, Artemis, Dionysus and other inhabitants of Olympus, wide public squares, baths and fountains. In addition, the city perimeter is surrounded by a massive city wall with several gates.
Attractions include Jerash, first of all, the South gate and the famous Street of Columns . which is inherent in all Roman cities. Here its length is 600 meters and it stretches from the Oval Plaza to the South gate. The street is lined with stones, and on the surface you can see traces of the chariot, which arrived in the city of the aristocracy of those years.
Overall, the entire city is one large Museum, and here everyone will find something that will impress him more than the rest. On the ruins of many buildings remained intact carving as well as marble and granite decoration. Perhaps some tourists are of particular interest Colonnaded square, the Forum, the Cathedral, or the Sanctuary of Zeus. While others want to walk on ancient small streets and try to get in touch with the past, to breathe the atmosphere of antiquity.
You should not forget that such walking is most suitable comfortable clothing and footwear. When visiting Jerash in the summer, be sure to wear hat, sunglasses and stock up on a couple of bottles of drinking water.
Every year in July on the territory of ancient Jerash festival under the open sky. Its ruins are a great backdrop for a variety of performances. Throughout the month of submission last day and night. Among them particularly successful are folk dancing, ballet, live music, performances by Opera singers as well as Amateur and professional theater productions. At the same time on other sites competitions of reciters and poets, fairs of local craftsmen and artists. In the evenings ancient ruins are beautifully illuminated by lights that make the event truly unforgettable.
In addition, throughout the year every day, except Friday, at the Hippodrome of Jerash is a paid presentation “the Roman army and chariot races”. During the show you will find forty-five legionaries who show you combat and combat training, and the ten gladiators, which will be a theatrical fight in the “life and death”. Viewers will see the classic race of the Roman chariots, seven laps.
For a more relaxing pastime, you can visit the local archaeological Museum. He works for free and in it you can see how he restored the city and to see exhibits of the ancient inhabitants of Jerash, discovered during the excavations.