Jerash, the Eastern Pompeii


We must recognize that we will never have a more than partial idea of ​​what became the great Roman Empire. It is incredible, that many kilometers from Rome itself we find a city with such well preserved ruins as the Coliseum itself or the Roman Forum (see DAY 2 of the DIARY OF ROME). Rome away from Rome ...

IMPORTANT NOTE: This newspaper was made on the v1 of this website, when we wrote only and exclusively for the family, so it is not as complete as the rest. However, you will find much more information about Jordan in the travel guide to Syria, Lebanon and Jordan from 2009

Today the group has been completed, 2 new arrivals from Barcelona, ​​a couple of 40 years have joined. We are already 6, the guide and the driver. This will be our travel group. We will start the day by visiting the capital.

Amman It is not a particularly beautiful city. It is simply a typical Arab city with more than 1.2 million inhabitants, antithesis of the great Roman roads and its layout in squares. Here everything is on top of everything, and even quite dirty or full of sand that gives it that look. Even if you hurry me, removing the souk from the center (far from the idea we have of a souk), the Roman citadel and theater and the King Hussein mosque, it doesn't have much to do. (The following photo is taken from the wikipedia)

The Roman citadel and the Roman theater They are possibly the highlight of the city. The citadel houses Roman, Byzantine and Islamic Umayyad remains. The theater is the best preserved piece of the ancient Roman city of Philadelphia on which Amman grew up. It was built in the S.II and had the capacity to house more than 5000 people

In Amman new modern neighborhoods coexist in new urbanizations west of the city (as well as the guide teaches and explains) with the traditional messy Arab style and the center souk. Before leaving the city, we pass through the King Hussein Mosque located in the center. It goes without saying that the feeling of security in Amman is total and walking along the street is very quiet. As on the 12th we will have part of the morning and afternoon for Amman we leave the souk for that day and set course for Jerash, stopping before in the historical and biblical Jacob river, which flows into the Jordan River. In the bible this river served as a border for the land of the children of Ammon.

Jerash, named after the ancient city of Decapolis and located north of Amman, is one of the most impressive and best preserved Roman ruins in the Middle East. Jerash already existed in prehistoric times but after passing multiple civilizations it was with the Romans when it reached its full splendor. In 614 the decline of the city began with the Persian invasion, but it was in 746 when a great earthquake destroyed much of the city. This is Jerash ...

It is still today when ancient Roman Gerasa continues to reveal its architectural treasures and continues to be excavated. The entrance to the enclosure is made by the South Gate after neglecting an almost disappeared Racecourse.

Just after crossing the wall appears before our eyes the Forum, a magnificent oval square of 90 m. long by 80 wide bounded by 56 columns of Ionic style, this being one of the distinctive icon images of the ruins.

We line the Cardo Maximus, the old main street where the marks left by the Roman carriages are still visible on the cobbled floor by repeatedly circulating on it. To the side and side there are numerous columns and remains of buildings.

In the background we distinguish the north access to the enclosure, in this case through the North Gate. However, after passing the beautiful Northern tetrapylon (the most preserved), we turn left to visit the North Theater where we take the opportunity to take a break.

The heat hits hard at this time of day. From the upper stands of the theater there is a magnificent view of the surroundings, including the nearby new city of Jerash. Now we walk through the top of the ruins. Especially well preserved and beautiful is the Temple of Artemis. From it, and from a little later, there is a very photogenic postcard view: Artemis, the forum or the oval square in the background and the South Theater.

Today I finished more tired because the enclosure is large, but it must be recognized that the visit to "the Pompeii of the East" has been worth it, a real pimp. From here and after lunch, we head to the hotel where we all managed to get out. Today we had dinner at a famous tourist restaurant in Amman, the Tawaheen Al-Hawa. The spicy sauces on that round table are going to end my hard stomach… although I will endure, hehehe

Different stews and sauces are arranged along a round table that turns. Salads, lamb meat, pita bread, a kind of vegetable buds, fried chickpeas ... The day is over and tomorrow we leave Amman to continue our route to the South. Ready suitcase and ... !! to the bed !!. More tomorrow. Family, I am perfectly, do not worry.

Isaac, from Amman (Jordan)