Yes, Jordan is more than Petra and if you have read some of my other posts on what I saw in Jordan, you are aware of that. But when it comes to historical sites of significance, it is worth noting that Jerash, in northwestern Jordan is quite important a historical place on its own right even if overshadowed by the more famous Petra. However, Jerash struck me not only for its historical significance but also because it was ALIVE!!!
Jerash – the ancient Greco-Roman city
Before I tell you how it is alive, let’s explore the historical and architectural gem Jerash is. Jerash (known as Gerasa in older times) was a city built originally in Greco-Roman times (estimated to have been established in the 4th century BC) and which, after a large earthquake in the 8th century and further destruction brought about by other earthquakes and wars, became a footnote of history until it was begun to be excavated in the early 19th century. Even Emperor Hadrian himself visited Jerash in his days and there is a triumphal arch commemorating that visit.
Arch of Hadrian built to honor his visit
The place is alive
Oh, you think I am talking figuratively, aren’t you?? There is a column in the Temple of Artemis that is actually moving. You can place your hand at its base and you will feel it moving. Yes, indeed! But that is not quite what I mean when I say Jerash is alive…
There were also vegetation around (this being the greener part of Jordan) like the following which also contributes to making Jerash a site that is “alive”. But that’s still not what I mean…
But what I really meant about Jerash being alive was neither of the prior two photos. The day we visited there were several groups of schoolchildren visiting and they enjoyed chanting in the large Roman theater – almost like competing to see who had the best chants – and running up the stands.
Though these ancient ruins were some of the most impressive I have seem, it was great to see a historic place so alive that day – it helped me connect more to the essence of Jordan via its children!