Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Jerash: The Coolest Ruins You’ve Never Heard Of


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Domini Jay



Welcome to Jerash, a hidden gem in the heart of Jordan. While most travelers focus on the bustling city of Amman or the iconic Petra, Jerash often goes unnoticed. However, this ancient city is a treasure trove of history, culture, and architectural marvels that will leave you in awe.


Located just 48 kilometers north of Amman, Jerash is one of the best-preserved Roman ruins in the world. Stepping into this archaeological site is like stepping back in time, as you wander through its well-preserved streets, temples, theaters, and homes, all built during the Roman era.


Jerash, also known as Gerasa in ancient times, was an important city in the Decapolis League—a league of ten Greco-Roman cities in the eastern part of the Roman Empire. It flourished during the 1st century AD and continued to thrive until it was hit by a series of earthquakes in the 8th century.


The ruins of Jerash were rediscovered in the 19th century and have since become a popular tourist destination. Despite its popularity, Jerash manages to retain an air of tranquility, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history of this ancient site without feeling overwhelmed.


As you explore Jerash, you will be mesmerized by the impressive architecture, intricate details, and the grandeur of the structures. From the towering columns of the Temple of Artemis to the majestic Oval Plaza, every corner of this ancient city tells a story.


But Jerash is more than just ruins; it is a living testament to the past. Throughout the year, the site hosts various cultural events and festivals that showcase traditional music, dance, and local crafts. These events offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience Jordanian culture in an authentic and immersive way.


Whether you are a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply a curious traveler, a visit to Jerash should be at the top of your list. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the history of Jerash, explore its magnificent architecture, and highlight the must-see attractions within the ruins.


History of Jerash

The history of Jerash dates back over 6,500 years. The city was inhabited by various civilizations, including the Canaanites, Assyrians, and Persians. However, it was during the Roman period that Jerash reached its peak of prosperity and became a major cultural hub.


Jerash was conquered by General Pompey in 63 BC, bringing it under Roman rule. The city flourished under Roman influence and became a vibrant center of trade and commerce. It was strategically located on the crossroads of several major trade routes, making it an important trading city in the region.


During the 1st century AD, Jerash experienced a period of rapid growth and prosperity. The city expanded, and its infrastructure was greatly developed, with the construction of paved streets, theaters, temples, and a grand oval plaza, known as the Forum.


Jerash’s golden age continued well into the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, with the city becoming one of the largest and most prosperous in the Roman Empire’s eastern provinces. It was known for its wealth, architectural grandeur, and vibrant cultural life.


However, in the 8th century, a series of devastating earthquakes struck the region, leading to the decline of Jerash. The city was gradually abandoned and buried under layers of earth and debris.


It wasn’t until the 19th century that the ancient ruins of Jerash were rediscovered. Archaeological excavations began, revealing the magnificence of the once-thriving city. Today, Jerash is considered one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world and has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Visiting Jerash offers a glimpse into the rich and diverse history of the region. Walking through the ancient streets, you can witness the influences of the different civilizations that once called this city home—Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad.


As you explore the ruins of Jerash, it’s hard not to imagine what life was like during its heyday. The city’s past comes to life as you pass through the arches, sit in the theaters, and admire the intricate carvings on the temples. Jerash truly is a window into the past, allowing us to connect with the ancient world and appreciate the legacy it has left behind.


Architecture of Jerash

The architecture of Jerash is a testament to the grandeur and sophistication of the Roman Empire. The city features a remarkable collection of well-preserved structures that showcase the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the ancient Romans.


One of the most iconic architectural features of Jerash is the Oval Plaza, also known as the Forum. This grand public space served as the commercial, social, and political center of the city. Surrounded by colonnades and adorned with statues and fountains, the Oval Plaza exudes a sense of magnificence and grandiosity.


As you walk through the ancient city, you will come across numerous Roman temples dedicated to different deities. The Temple of Artemis is one of the most impressive, with its towering columns and intricate carvings. This temple was dedicated to the goddess of the hunt and fertility and served as a place of worship and pilgrimage.


Another architectural wonder in Jerash is the South Theater, which could accommodate up to 3,000 spectators. Its well-preserved seating area and stage offer a glimpse into the vibrant performances that once took place in this Roman amphitheater. Today, the theater is still used for cultural events and performances, allowing visitors to experience the unique acoustics and ambiance of ancient Roman entertainment.


Jerash is also known for its well-preserved city walls and gates. The city was surrounded by massive stone walls that served as a defensive measure. The South Gate, in particular, is a remarkable example of Roman military architecture, with its imposing towers and intricate carvings.


The colonnaded streets of Jerash transport visitors back in time, with their rows of towering columns lining the way. The Cardo Maximus, the main street of the city, stretches for over 800 meters and is lined with shops and market stalls. Walking along this ancient thoroughfare gives you a glimpse into the bustling commercial activity that was once a hallmark of Jerash.


Each structure in Jerash showcases unique architectural details and reflects the influences of various civilizations. From intricately carved capitals to well-preserved mosaics, the attention to detail and craftsmanship in every corner of the city is awe-inspiring.


Exploring the architectural wonders of Jerash is like stepping into a living museum. The combination of Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad influences creates a captivating blend of architectural styles. It is a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of this ancient city.


Highlights of Jerash

Jerash offers a plethora of fascinating highlights that make it a must-visit destination for history and architecture enthusiasts. These highlights showcase the grandeur and cultural significance of this ancient Roman city.


One of the standout attractions in Jerash is the Oval Plaza, also known as the Forum. This sprawling public square is the heart and soul of the city and provides a magnificent setting for exploring the ancient ruins. The colonnades, statues, and fountains that surround the plaza create a sense of grandiosity and offer a glimpse into the vibrant social and commercial life of ancient Jerash.


The South Theater is another highlight not to be missed during your visit. This remarkably well-preserved Roman amphitheater once hosted grand performances, and its seating area and stage still evoke the atmosphere of ancient entertainment. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a live performance or cultural event in this historic venue, allowing you to experience the theater as it was intended.


For architecture enthusiasts, the Temple of Artemis is a must-see attraction. This stunning temple dedicated to the goddess of the hunt and fertility features towering columns, intricate carvings, and a sense of spiritual significance. As you explore the temple, take a moment to imagine the rituals and worship that once took place in this sacred space.


Another highlight of Jerash is the City Walls and Gates. The well-preserved stone walls that surround the city provide a glimpse into the defensive measures taken by the ancient inhabitants. The South Gate, with its imposing towers and intricate carvings, is particularly impressive and demonstrates the military architectural prowess of the Romans.


No visit to Jerash would be complete without strolling through the colonnaded streets. The Cardo Maximus, the main street of the city, offers a fascinating glimpse into the daily life and commercial activities of ancient Jerash. The rows of towering columns and the array of shops and market stalls along the street create an immersive experience, transporting you back in time.


While exploring Jerash’s ruins, keep an eye out for the fascinating mosaics that adorn the floors of some of the structures. These intricate and beautifully preserved mosaics depict various scenes and patterns, offering a glimpse into the skilled craftsmanship of the ancient inhabitants.


Whether you’re captivated by the grandeur of the Oval Plaza, enthralled by the performances in the South Theater, or in awe of the architectural marvels scattered throughout the city, Jerash is sure to leave a lasting impression. Each highlight tells a unique story and contributes to the rich tapestry of Jerash’s historical and cultural significance.


Visit to Jerash

A visit to Jerash is like stepping back in time and immersing yourself in the rich history and architectural wonders of the ancient Roman Empire. If you’re planning a trip to Jordan, here’s a guide to help you make the most of your visit to Jerash.


When planning your visit, it’s best to allocate at least half a day to explore the ancient ruins. The site is quite extensive, and you’ll want to have enough time to fully appreciate the various attractions and soak in the atmosphere. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be doing a lot of walking on uneven surfaces.


Start your journey at the Visitor Center, where you can purchase your entrance tickets and obtain a map of the archaeological site. The map will guide you through the different areas of Jerash and help you navigate your way between the highlights.


As you enter Jerash, begin your exploration at the Oval Plaza. Take a moment to marvel at the grandeur of the plaza and its surrounding colonnades. From there, make your way to the South Theater, where you can imagine the vibrant performances that once took place in this awe-inspiring amphitheater.


Continuing your journey, visit the Temple of Artemis, one of the most architecturally impressive structures in Jerash. Admire the intricate carvings and towering columns as you learn about the religious significance of this temple dedicated to the goddess of the hunt and fertility.


Make sure to also explore the Cardo Maximus, the main street of the city. Wander through the rows of towering columns, imagining the hustle and bustle of ancient Jerash’s commercial activities. Along the way, keep an eye out for the well-preserved mosaics, which offer a glimpse into the artistic talents of the ancient inhabitants.


Don’t forget to wander off the beaten path and explore the lesser-known areas of Jerash. Venture into the residential quarters and visit the various temples and theaters scattered throughout the site. Every corner of Jerash has something unique to offer, so take your time to fully appreciate the beauty and significance of each structure.


After exploring the main attractions, take a moment to relax and soak in the ambiance of Jerash. Find a quiet spot to sit and reflect on the rich history and cultural heritage surrounding you.


Before leaving, make sure to visit the Jerash Archaeological Museum, located near the entrance of the site. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts discovered during the excavations, offering further insights into the ancient city’s past.


A visit to Jerash is not just about the ruins; it’s about immersing yourself in a fascinating journey through time. Allow yourself to be transported to the days of the Roman Empire and appreciate the beauty and significance of this ancient city.



Jerash is undoubtedly a hidden treasure that should not be overlooked by travelers visiting Jordan. From its well-preserved ruins and remarkable architectural wonders to its rich history and cultural significance, this ancient Roman city offers a captivating experience that will leave you in awe.


A visit to Jerash is an opportunity to step back in time and immerse yourself in the grandeur and splendor of the Roman Empire. As you stroll through the streets, explore the temples and theaters, and marvel at the intricate details of the structures, you can’t help but feel a sense of wonder and admiration for the skilled craftsmanship and ingenuity that went into creating this ancient city.


But Jerash is more than just ruins; it is a living testament to the past. The vibrant cultural events and festivals that take place within the site allow visitors to experience Jordanian traditions and immerse themselves in the local culture. From traditional music and dance performances to showcases of local crafts, these events breathe life into Jerash, creating a truly immersive and unforgettable experience.


Whether you are a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply a curious traveler, Jerash offers something for everyone. The city’s rich history and diverse influences make it a uniquely captivating destination, where every stone tells a story and every corner unveils a new piece of ancient life.


So, when you plan your visit to Jordan, make sure to include Jerash in your itinerary. Allocate enough time to fully explore the ruins, soak in the atmosphere, and appreciate the beauty and significance of this remarkable archaeological site. Jerash will transport you back in time, leaving you with memories and experiences that will stay with you long after your trip.