Ancient Roman Ruins That Are Alive Today in Jerash, Jordan

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 Hadrian Roman ruin Jordan Jerash history Canon EOS Rebel

Arch of Hadrian built to honor his visit
Arch Hadrian Roman ruins history Jerash Gerasa Jordan Canon EOS Rebel
Detail of the Arch of Hadrian

Among the many sites in Jerash to explore are the Forum, temples to Zeus and Artemis, the Cardo Maximus (column-lined road), the North and South theaters and many other ruins.
FOrum Roman rins Jerash Jordan history
View of the Forum at Jerash
Forum Roman ruins colonnade columns Jerash Jordan History Canon EOS Rebel
Detail of the colonnade of the Forum
Mosaic Roman ruins Byzantine church Jerash Jordan art design Canon EOS Rebel

Mosaic floor of one of the 3 contiguous Byzantine churches on the site

Cardo Maximus Roman Ruins Colonnade Columns history Jerash Jordan Canon EOS Rebel
Visitors walking down the Cardo Maximus, the north-south colonnaded street

Fallen column Roman ruin history Jerash Jordan Canon EOS Rebel

Jerash’s ruins did not survive powerful earthquakes and other ravages as this reminds us

Columns temple artemis jerash jordan history roman ruins

Beautiful columns in the Temple of Artemis

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…

Moving column temple artemis Jerash Jordan Roan ruins

I hesitated for a second putting my hand in there. I let someone else go first…

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…

Fig tree in Jerash, Jordan Roman ruins Canon EOS Rebel

Fig tree along the path

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.

Jerash Jordan children Roman theater Canon EOS Rebel

Children enjoying and LIVING the ruins!

Jerash Jordan children Roman theater Canon EOS Rebel

Children enjoying and LIVING the ruins!

Jerash Jordan children Roman theater Canon EOS Rebel

Children climbing the stands of the theater

Jerash Jordan children Roman theater Canon EOS Rebel

Jerash Jordan children Roman theater Canon EOS Rebel

The smile so typical of every kid we ran into! A happy memory for us all

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!


During this trip, I was a guest of the Jordan Tourism Board.  That notwithstanding, the stories I share were my real experiences and nothing else.  As they always are!



  1. Tio Tito says:

    Very interesting!! Had never heard of it before. Keep up the great work!!

  2. Your piece really makes Jerash come alive! Thank you for sharing.
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  3. Moving ruins? Woah. Kind of creepy. Pretty cool!
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  4. The arch was simply breathtaking! wow!
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  5. Fantastic photos, Raul! I would love to visit that site. Been a while since I saw ancient ruins in person…
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  6. That’s my hand in the the ruins! Remember how I screamed and sacred the crap out of the guide? Hahaha….great times and great photos, Raul.
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    • @Leah, that’s true – that is your hand!!! I hope you have insurance on it now that you are a “hand model”! Good times indeed

  7. Very cool post and great pictures. Dr. Frankenstein would be proud. Interesting that the children brightened up the ruins. Reminded me of biking through ruins in Thailand where a bunch of Thai children were touring them at the same tie.
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  8. I loved all of your photos in this post, and then we got to the ones with the kids – you really and truly captured how much they were enjoying the ruins. Amazing! What a magical and special place. I really hope to see it for myself some day soon.
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    • @Erin, thank you!!! The place became something else for me as soon as I saw the kids enjoying it just as kids can!

  9. Absolutely loved my time in Gerasa and would go back in a heartbeat!
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