Jerash, located 48 km north of Amman and nestled in a quiet valley among the mountains of Gilead, is the grandeur of Imperial Rome being one of the largest and most well preserved sites of Roman architecture in the World outside Italy.
This fascinating city makes a great day-trip from Amman, particularly in spring, when the wildflowers are in bloom. The drive will take you less than an hour, but will transport you 2000 years back in time.
Jerash has developed dramatically in the last century with the growing importance of the tourism industry in the city. Jerash is now the second-most popular tourist attraction in Jordan, closely behind the ruins of Petra. On the western side of the city, which contained most of the representative buildings, the ruins have been carefully preserved, with the modern city sprawling to the east of the river which once divided ancient Jerash in two.
The most significant sights in Jerash are: Oval Forum, North Theater, The Cardo Maximus, The Hippodrome, the Columns at Jerash, the Arch of Hadrian.
The spacious plaza measures 90mx80m and is surrounded by a broad sidewalk and colonnade of 1st century AD Ionic columns located in Jerash. There are two alters in the middle, and a fountain was added in the 7th Century AD. This square structure now supports a central column, which was recently erected to carry the Jerash Festival Flame.
In addition to its standard function as a marketplace, a forum was a gathering place of great social significance, and often the scene of diverse activities, including political discussions and debates, rendezvous, meetings. In that case it supplemented the function of a conciliabulum or place of assembly.
Since 1981, the old city of Jerash has hosted the Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts, a three-week-long summer program of dance, music, and theatrical performances. The festival is frequently attended by members of the royal family of Jordan and is hailed as one of the largest cultural activities in the region.