Jerash, Jordan: the Spectacular Roman Ruins

Northern Tetrapylon Northern Tetrapylon
The Cardo Maximus -- Main Street The Cardo Maximus -- Main Street
the South Amphitheater the South Amphitheater
the main area -- the oval forum the main area -- the oval forum
the entrance gate to the ruins the entrance gate to the ruins

I was fortunate enough to have been hosted by the wonderful people at the Jordan Tourism Board for a guided tour of this wonderful country just a couple weeks ago and one of the big highlights was Jerash. I’ll be doing a series of posts about the things I got to do and see over the next few weeks.

The Roman Ruins of Jerash

Jerash has some of the most well preserved Roman ruins anywhere in the world. Back in Roman times, the city was known as Gerasa and was one of the ten Decapolis cities that ruled the area. It has been occupied since the Bronze Age and achieved notoriety when Emperor Hadrian visited Jerash in AD 129-130 — ergo the Arch of Hadrian shown down below.

This was a site that I likely would not have gone to, without the Jordan Tourism Board setting it up. I hadn’t heard of it before, though I had been through the area in 2009. It is in the northern part of the country which is lush and green and hilly — the breadbasket of Jordan — which is beautiful in its own right.

In my opinion, it is a can’t miss site. You are not going to get the chance to see such extensive and well preserved ruins almost anywhere in the world. And unlike Palmyra in Syria, which is also massive, in Jerash, you can truly get a sense of the activity of the place. You see where the merchants set up shop every day. There are two amphitheaters that are both in great shape.

And in the hippodrome, you witness a chariot race and a gladiator exhibition. More on that soon…

p.s. my friend Leslie at Downtown Traveler just did a great post on Jerash with photos and video. Well worth checking out.

Jerash, Jordan, roman ruins temple door


 Arch of Hadrian, Jerash, jordan, roman ruins, entrance gate

Hadrian's Arch -- the entrance gate to the ruins


Jerash, jordan, roman ruins, jerash oval plazza

the main area -- the Oval Plazza


Jerash, jordan, roman ruins south amphitheater in Jerash

the South Amphitheater


cardo maximus ruins, jerash

The Cardo Maximus -- Main Street


Jerash, jordan, roman ruins in Jerash


Northern Tetrapylon jerash jordan roman ruins

Northern Tetrapylon

You literally could not be lucky enough to find a site for Roman ruins as preserved as Jerash.

My friend Nellie took some wonderful photos of the Roman ruins at Jerash also.

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I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all. Read more by Michael Hodson and connect on Google Plus.

35 Responses to “Jerash, Jordan: the Spectacular Roman Ruins” Subscribe

  1. Ayngelina April 28, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    My favourite photo is the last one, there’s a sense of tranquility in it somehow.

    • Michael Hodson April 28, 2011 at 10:30 am #

      Thanks. Was happy to get a nice shot without people in it. That is at the far edge of the park, so was a little more peaceful there as well.

  2. Pete | Hecktic Travels April 28, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Wonderful photos Michael. I agree with Ayngelina in the last photo there is a sense of tranquility amongst the ruin.

    • Michael Hodson April 28, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      I am a huge ruins fan. I’ve got plenty more shots from the Middle East, but was particularly taken by this location in Jordan.

  3. Kristi Hines April 28, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    Awesome captures of the ruins! I like the composition and depth in the last one the best.

    • Michael Hodson April 28, 2011 at 10:36 am #

      I might need to move the last one up higher! Thanks for the complements, everyone.

  4. Justin Morris April 28, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Whoa these photos are amazing Michael. Some of the best Roman ruins I’ve ever seen. It’s all still so intact, what with the arches and the clearly made out main street. I didn’t know Jordan had such great ruins, looks like you had a great day out there.

    • Michael Hodson April 28, 2011 at 10:54 am #

      thanks, Justin. I was also surprised at the state of the ruins. These were some of the best preserved I have seen anywhere.

  5. Jeremy B April 28, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    This looks like a cleaner, more appealing Athens! Seems like a great place to visit. I am sure there are many great places in Jordan that many of us don’t know about.

    • Michael Hodson April 29, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

      I haven’t been to Athens yet (though would love to go), but if it is anything like Rome, yea it is more compact and close together. Really nice site. And you are right… lots of places in Jordan to see.

  6. Angela April 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Spectacular indeed, culture and landscapes in the Middle East are overwhelming.

    • Michael Hodson April 29, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

      Agreed! Love the culture, landscapes…. and the people. So nice.

  7. Leslie (Downtown Traveler) April 29, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    Great shots! You’ve really captured the site. Just went to Jerash a few days ago and it was impressive. We ran into a group of school children who were welcoming and burst into song and dance in front of us! Jordan is a great place to visit 🙂

    • Michael Hodson April 29, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

      Leslie, I am glad (and surprised) and you were able to hit Jerash,given you really quick schedule. Good place to hit and sounds like you had a personal show!

  8. Sophie April 29, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    Jerash is wonderful. Attended a concert in the amphitheatre there one night… about 20 years ago. Excellent acoustics.

    • Michael Hodson April 29, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

      ahhhhh, a concert there would be spectacular

  9. Erica April 29, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    It is absolutely fascinating to me how far the Roman ruins go. Seeing the Roman baths in Bath UK, the aqueducts in Segovia, Spain, and then seeing them in Jordan reinforces that history lesson all the more.

    Great pics! I’m a history nerd!

    • Michael Hodson April 29, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

      Agree on the amazing size of that empire. And really, a lot of it happened in just a couple hundre years. I join you in the history nerdness!

  10. Vicki April 30, 2011 at 5:49 am #

    I loved reading this and checking out your great photos.
    I have just spent the last week scanning my negatives from my time in Jordan and Syria in 1990, and then I followed someone’s tweet to this blog – I love a good coincidence!
    It’s intriguing to see how much is still the same twenty years later, except in 1990 it was the Gulf War and we were literally the only people there, nice to see Jerash gets more visitors these days – and the sky is still a beautiful blue!

    • Michael Hodson June 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

      I’d love to see your photos up at some point — that would be very cool.

  11. Roy | cruisesurfingz April 30, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Wow, looks spectacular!

  12. Matt | ExpertVagabond April 30, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    It’s fun to think about what the main street would look like back then. Romans hanging out under the pillars in their togas… shootin’ the shit, buying fruit, cruisin’ the strip picking up women (or men?) in their chariots… 🙂

    Great shots!

    • Michael Hodson June 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

      I know — once reason I love ruins is sitting there and just imagining what it all would have looked like back in the day.

  13. Simon April 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    While reading your article and looking at your lovely photos, I think once again at the beauty of the Middle East and its amazing historic heritage.
    This is definitely an area that has a special place in my heart!

    • Michael Hodson June 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

      I have been surprised at how much I love it. One of my favorite places in the world.

  14. pam || @nerdseyeview May 1, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Wow. Just wow. So. Freaking. Jealous.

    • Michael Hodson June 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

      Yea, you need to knock out some time in the Middle East. Fabulous part of the world.

  15. Cindy Vaz August 9, 2012 at 2:04 am #

    Hi Michael,

    Brilliant posts on Israel.
    I, for one would love to visit Israel. However, I doubt I can ever do that as Malaysian passport do not accept Israel / or Malaysian passport cannot enter into Israel (Whichever is which).

    So much of history. Beautiful place.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    – Cindy

  16. Corinne May 18, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    We went to Jerash a couple of years ago. Loved it. Loved Jordan. I like how Jerash is right on the border. I also love the last photo best. I always love the old and current in the same shot!

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