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Magnificent Jerash

April 15, 2017

Hadrian’s Arch marks the grand gateway to the ancient Roman city of Jerash, and its historic wealth and importance are obvious once you begin strolling along the Cardo Maximus, its main north-south street, lined with huge columns.

Another archway gives onto the oval Forum.

Even though the site has been damaged by earthquakes over the centuries, fallen columns still reveal details of the acanthus leaves carved onto their capitals.


The Temple of Zeus has a place of honor on the highest spot, and offers panoramic vistas of the site.

Further along on another high point is the Temple of Artemis (my personal favorite, since her Greek counterpart was Diana). The columns have an interesting patina that makes them look like they’re sheathed in copper.


Most of the city was constructed in the first century A.D., but there are ruins of Christian churches all around as well. In the fourth and fifth centuries, builders found their materials by pilfering from the ancient structures, which had been abandoned after Christianity became the official state religion under Constantine. The pagan temples are actually better preserved than the churches.  Below is a Byzantine church ruin.


I’m always fascinated by ancient ruins such as these, and love to imagine what daily life must have been like for the folks who lived there. In my travels I’ve seen countless excavations, but this was one of the most impressive.

On to Mt. Nebo!

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