Jerash – an amazing ancient city in ruins

I have just returned from a ten day visit to Jordan – a country with an amazing history sandwiched between Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Over the next few blog posts, I’m going to share the incredible places I visited. In this post, I continue to show you the remains of the ancient city of Jerash.

The ancient city of Jerash – this Roman site is entered through a monumental arch built in the 2nd century AD when the emperor Hadrian paid a visit. 

The streets are still intact with temples, shops and a semi-circular forum. The once huge temple of Artemis can still be identified and a thousand years after it was built, it was used by the Saracens as a fortress and then burnt by the crusaders under Baldwin II, king of Jerusalem (see my previous blog post for more details).

The evolution of ancient Jerash

What I found incredibly interesting was that life continued in Jerash in the late Roman, Byzantine and crusader periods. Buildings were repurposed and new structures thrown up using materials from much older temples and basilicas.

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So, in amongst the ancient Roman remains, you get the mosaic floor of a Byzantine church that shows a bishop and his wife – presumably the funders. And then a group of archaeologists were busy unearthing a mosque from the Saracen period.

I mentioned in the previous blog post the Temple of Artemis that unfortunately became a Saracen fortress. I say unfortunately because it was then burnt down by a crusader army. The scorch marks are still detectable on the walls.

Here is a gallery of photos from ancient Jerash.

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