It’s possible you’ve not heard about Jerash, Jordan and yet, it’s the second most visited destination in the country, after Petra. For many people stumbling on Jerash is a side effect of a well-planned trip to Jordan. It’s not quite as famous and yet it is still spectacular and worth a stop.
So why is it that Jerash hasn’t become as popular as Petra?
Why should you include a visit to Jerash, Jordan on your itinerary?
Visiting Jerash, Jordan
Jerash is one of the largest and best-preserved sites of Roman architecture in the whole world. It is located west of modern-day Jerash, and about 45 kilometers north of Jordan’s capital, Amman. The city is packed with ruins of the ancient monument still in remarkably good condition.
Entering the city via the majestic Hadrian’s Arch catapults you back in time 2000 years in just a split moment. It is said the Arch was built specifically for the visit of emperor Hadrian. You need to pass it as well as the huge hippodrome before you actually come to the real Southern city gate. Right inside the gate was a small marketplace.
Beyond the gate and the small marketplace, you reach the impressive Oval Plaza, surrounded by a colonnade of first-century Ionic columns. There now also is a central column, but that has been erected much more recently to carry the flame of the Jerash Festival, a yearly two-week event of Culture and Arts.
From the Oval Plaza, you can connect to the Cardo “Colonnaded Street”. More Columns indeed alongside this 800-meter long street, once the focal point of Jerash. After all, it used to be the “shopping” street, with broad sidewalks on either side. They even had an underground sewage system, the full length of the Cardo. Regular holes at the sides of the street drained the rainwater into the sewers.
The fascinating city continues to offer more monuments as you stroll on: the macellum or marketplace, several temples, an ornamental fountain, a theatre, Byzantine churches, etc. There is also an archaeological museum with a large connection of artifacts found at the sire, not to be missed! As this is obviously a tourist attraction you may even come across some musical entertainment on the site.
While Petra is famous and definitely worth visiting, Jerash is a true discovery and should be near the top of your list when going to Jordan.
Where to Stay in Jerash
Budget: Our Villa’s Pine Cottage
Found on a hill just outside of Jerash, Our Villa’s Pine Cottage has magnificent views. The rooms are fairly rudimentary but clean and authentic. Free WiFi and private parking is offered, as well as a rustic garden, barbecue, and fully equipped kitchen for guests’ use.
Boutique: The North Jewel
Just over ten miles (sixteen kilometers) from Jerash ruins, The North Jewel is an atmospheric wooden cabin with fantastic views across the countryside. A unique building on stilts, the outdoor terrace area is just gorgeous in the evening – sure to make a very memorable stay. Free WiFi is provided and there is a seasonal outdoor pool.
Luxury: Mountain Breeze Lodge & Resort
A breathtaking location up in the hills of Jordan, this resort is a little bit further out at about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Jerash. Mountain Breeze Resort is surrounded by beautiful greenery and countryside with stunning views. There is an on-site restaurant and a spectacular outdoor terrace area. Rooms are cozy with wood-clad walls and come with a safe, minibar, and coffee-making facilities.