Visit to Jerash (Gerasia), Jordan: where it is, how to get there and what to see

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Martí Micolau
@martimicolau
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Less famous than Petra or Wadi Rum, the city of Jerash, known in Greco-Roman times as Gerasa, is one of the precious gems of Jordan.

Just 1 hour away from the capital Amman, it is one of the best preserved historical places in the Middle East. A visit is not only recommended if you are passionate about archeology, but to everyone, as the ruins of this place will leave you speechless and will catapult you into an extraordinary ancient world.

So ours driving on Jerash, Jordan: where it is, how to get there and what to see!



Index

  1. Where is it and how to get there
  2. Hours and prices
  3. Tours, guided tours and tickets online
  4. What to see and how to visit Jerash (Gerasia)
  5. Useful tips for visiting the archaeological site
  6. Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief
  7. User questions and comments

Where is it and how to get there

  • By bus: from the "Abdali" station in Amman there are several buses and minibuses to Jerash and they will leave you at 15 minutes walking distance from the famous archaeological site of the city, the ticket costs only 1,00 JOD (about € 1,27); keep in mind that the buses leave when they are full, so go early in the morning to leave with the first bus available; last ride from Jerash to Amman is 16pm - Get directions
  • By taxi: a private taxi between Amman and Jerash costs an average of 25,00 JOD (approximately € 31,00); travel time approximately 1 hour, traffic permitting
  • By car: it is 51 km from Amman and can be reached easily by following road 35; during peak hours with heavy traffic it can take up to 2 hours
  • Private tours: alternatively, from Amman there are also organized excursions to Jerash, in this way you will not have to worry about transport and you will have everything organized; find out more Amman: Jerash Half Day Private Tour

Hours and prices

The entrance to the Jerash site is located south of the ancient city, near the arch of Hadrian; the ticket office, on the other hand, is located in a complex where there is also a bar, a souvenir shop, a toilet and a post office.



  • in winter from 8:00 to 16:00, in summer from 8:00 to 20:00; during Ramadan from 9:30 to 17:30
  • Best time to avoid queues: in the morning before 10:00 and, in summer, in the afternoon after 16:00; the rush hour when most tourists arrive is 11am
  • 8,00 JOD (approximately € 10,00)
  • Reductions: reduced admission for Jordan Pass holders
  • Free: free for children under 12

Tours, guided tours and tickets online

What to see and how to visit Jerash (Gerasia)

The ancient Roman fortified city once it was the administrative, commercial, religious and civic center of Jerash and it was equipped with many monuments, structures and buildings that have been perfectly preserved. From the entrance, start your visit and admire the numerous squares, fountains, colonnades, streets, temples and amphitheaters!

Here's what you will see:

Arch of Hadrian

Famous and also known as the Arch of Triumph, built in 129 AD, the Arch of Hadrian was built for commemorate the visit of Emperor Hadrian to Jerash.

13 meters high, at the time it was about double! Acanthus leaves are decorated at the base of each pillar, a typical Roman decorative element.

Racecourse

After the Arc de Triomphe there is the hippodrome, built between the 244st and 50rd centuries AD, m long and m wide.

This ancient sports field came used for athletics competitions and chariot races and could hold up to 15.000 spectators.



Oval Square

After the Arch of Hadrian and the South Gate, inside the walls is the Forum, also called Oval Square, one of the symbols of Jerash.

90 meters long and 80 meters wide, the square is surrounded by 56 columns and paved with high quality limestone. At the time, it was the beating heart of the political and social life of the city.

Temple of Zeus

On the southern side of the Forum is the Temple of Zeus, dating back to 162 AD once, reachable via a monumental staircase.

The building rests on a colonnaded base of 40 meters by 30 meters ed it was visible from anywhere in the city; however, being in the highest part it was also one of the structures most damaged by earthquakes and erosions.

South Theater

Behind the temple of Zeus is the theater, built between 81 and 96 AD, which housed 5.000 spectators divided into two floors. Today only the first floor remains, which features 32 rows of seats marked with Greek numbers and a finely decorated two-level stage.

from top of the theater you can admire the beauty of the Piazza Ovale that at sunset takes on wonderful colors.

Cardo Maximus

This colonnaded street is the main street of the city and runs for 800 meters from the Forum to the North Gate.

La flooring is original and you can see the furrows left by the wagons and the manholes for the water drainage. At the crossing is the entrance to the agora where people met around the central fountain.



Cathedral

From the thistle rises one stairway leading to the only Jerash Cathedral. This modest Byzantine church was built in the second half of the th century in the area where the II Temple of Dionysus once stood.

Today, yes they can only see the walls as the rest has been destroyed.

Temple of Artemis

On top of a hill is the Most impressive temple of Jerash dedicated to Artemis, daughter of Zeus, built between 150 and 170 AD

Flanked by 12 finely carved columns, inside there is a sacrificial altar, a typical element of the temples of the Decapolis.

Western baths

Descending from the temple of Artemis there are the ruins of the baths which measured 70 meters by 50 meters in square shape and surmounted by a dome.

The complex housed the calidarium, the tepidarium and the frigidarium that however they were destroyed by various earthquakes.

North Theater

This theater is very different from the other both in shape and decoration! Also, according to historians, the place came used to host political assemblies rather than performances.

It featured 14 rows of seating, two vaulted passageways, and five arcaded passageways. The structure you will see today has been restored and holds up to 2.000 people.

Useful tips for visiting the archaeological site

  1. Get up early: to avoid heat and crowds, the ideal is to visit Jerash in the morning when the site opens
  2. Buy the Jordan Pass: if you are interested in visiting other museums or attractions in Jordan, you can buy the pass; and there are three types depending on the attractions included and the cost varies between 70,00 and 80,00 JOD (approximately between € 90,00 and € 100,00)
  3. Minimum time: we advise you to consider a minimum of 3 hours for the visit
  4. Get a guide: the best way to visit Jerash is accompanied by an expert who will be able to lead you into the history of this place; the cost is usually around JOD 10,00 per person (€ 12,50); excellent guides can be found at the entrance to the South Gate where they check tickets
  5. Get yourself a map: at the visitor center you will find the free maps of Jerash that contain in addition to the map, the recommended itineraries to do on foot within the site

Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief

Jerash it was built following the Roman conquest of the region by Pompeo who wanted to annex the city to the Decapolis.
Despite the etymology, the Decapolis, it included 18 cities that united the Roman possessions and boosted trade in the region. The intent of the Roman Emperor was to to spread the Roman culture in all the provinces of the Empire to emphasize the importance of Rome.

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