< Last Photo   << Last Chapter                Notes on the Geography of Places: Jordan: Jerash         Next Chapter >>   Next Photo > 

Notes on the Geography of Jordan: Jerash

An hour's drive north of Amman--I'm including the inevitable traffic congestion--Jerash is a second century Roman town.

Make default image size larger

Jordan: Jerash picture 1

Hadrian's Arch, built at the time of the emperor's visit in 129-130 A.D but, like many buildings in Jerash, more or less reassembled over the last century. When Selah Merrill, the American consul in Jerusalem, visited in 1880, the columns here had no capitals, and the highest point was the keystone.

Jordan: Jerash picture 2

The Temple of Zeus, just inside the gate and atop a knoll overlooking the city's early center. The columns are modern reassemblies, stacked incorrectly.

Jordan: Jerash picture 3

The temple was on a 12 x 8 plan. Work on the cella continues.

Jordan: Jerash picture 4

This is the South Theater, which adjoins the Temple of Zeus. It was built in two phases, plainly distinguished by a lower section carved from the hill and--separated from it by the diazoma--a part built up and supported on arches. The modern town of Jerash is in the background.

Jordan: Jerash picture 5

The stage.

Jordan: Jerash picture 6

Another angle.

Jordan: Jerash picture 7

From the Temple of Zeus, there's a fine view of the oval-shaped forum as well as the 800-meter-long cardo, or prime meridian that leads north to what became in the later part of the second century the city's new center. The block at the center of the oval carries a modern column; in antiquity, a statue presumably stood on it.

Jordan: Jerash picture 8

A close up of the Ionic colonnade around the forum. Atmosphere? Here's Consul Merrill, writing about 1880: "Walking about this ancient city by day, and especially by night, the silence, the desolation, the mystery connected with its origin, and its past, fill the mind with sensations which cannot be imparted to another." (East of the Jordan..., 1881, p. 284.)

Jordan: Jerash picture 9

Looking south from the cardo over the oval and up to the Temple of Zeus and, on the right, the theater.

Jordan: Jerash picture 10

Looking north on the cardo, with its diagonal paving including old ruts.

Jordan: Jerash picture 11

A view back along the cardo, with the Temple of Zeus and the South Theater in the background.

Jordan: Jerash picture 12

Looking northwesterly and across the cardo.

Jordan: Jerash picture 13

The four taller columns mark the entrance to the Roman city's market, the macellum.

Jordan: Jerash picture 14

A view from inside and looking northeasterly.

Jordan: Jerash picture 15

The market was built around an octagonal courtyard, with a central fountain, here at the lower-right.

Jordan: Jerash picture 16

The four blocks mark the intersection of the cardo, crossing from upper-left to lower-right with one of two decumani crossing it at a right angle. An archway rose above and connected the four blocks.

Jordan: Jerash picture 17

The view west, along a decumanus.

Jordan: Jerash picture 18

Farther north along the cardo is this gate to what apparently was the Temple of Dionysus. The stairs are from the 1930s.

Jordan: Jerash picture 19

Looking down the stairs.

Jordan: Jerash picture 20

Looking west from the site of the Temple of Dionysus to the ruins of the church of St. Theodore. The octagonal platform in the center was a fountain in the church's atrium.

Jordan: Jerash picture 21

A closer view. Water came by lead pipe laid under the courtyard.

Jordan: Jerash picture 22

A view east from the platform of the fountain and overlooking the site of the Temple of Dionysus, popularly called The Cathedral.

Jordan: Jerash picture 23

The Church of St. Theodore.

Jordan: Jerash picture 24

Still farther north on the cardo is the fountain of the Nymphaeum--still with holes from which water once poured.

Jordan: Jerash picture 25

Another view.

Jordan: Jerash picture 26

The view from behind, where the archaeologists still have plenty to do.

Jordan: Jerash picture 27

Farther north on the cardo, this is the entrance to the Temple of Artemis, whose columns rise in the background.

Jordan: Jerash picture 28

The temple itself. This was the grand focus of Jerash in the Second Century, although it appears (from lack of any evidence of a roof) that the temple may never have been finished.

Jordan: Jerash picture 29

Another view.

Jordan: Jerash picture 30

Another view.

Jordan: Jerash picture 31

Fragments of the Temple of Artemis' outer colonnade, which enclosed an area of 160 by 120 meters.

Jordan: Jerash picture 32

We're north of the Temple of Artemis and overlooking the back of the North Theater. The columns behind its stage are visible, as is the cardo and a new north gate under construction.

Jordan: Jerash picture 33

This theater, too, was built in phases, the first excavated and the second erected.

Jordan: Jerash picture 34

The slope is very steep.

Jordan: Jerash picture 35

View of the theater from the east.

Jordan: Jerash picture 36

Cornice blocks awaiting reassembly. The cardo continues north between the columns; the second decumanus crosses under the archway at the right.

Jordan: Jerash picture 37

The intersection is clearer here; the archway or tetrakionion is modern.

Jordan: Jerash picture 38

A closer view.

Jordan: Jerash picture 39

The second decumanus heads west, with the theater on the left.

Jordan: Jerash picture 40

Looking south from a point north of the second intersection.

Jordan: Jerash picture 41

The same orientation, but from a point farther north.

Jordan: Jerash picture 42

Masons add a north gate to the city.

Jordan: Jerash picture 43

What will it look like? Presumably like this twin, already completed to add a south entrance to the site. Do additions like these cross the line from protecting a site to building a new one?

* Argentina * Australia * Austria * Bangladesh * Belgium * Botswana * Brazil * Burma / Myanmar * Cambodia (Angkor) * Canada (B.C.) * China * The Czech Republic * Egypt * Fiji * France * Germany * Ghana * Greece * Guyana * Hungary * India: Themes * Northern India * Peninsular India * Indonesia * Israel * Italy * Japan * Jerusalem * Jordan * Kenya * Laos * Kosovo * Malawi * Malaysia * Mauritius * Mexico * Micronesia (Pohnpei) * Morocco * Mozambique * Namibia * The Netherlands * New Zealand * Nigeria * Norway * Oman * Pakistan * Peru * The Philippines * Poland * Portugal * Romania (Transylvania) * Senegal * Singapore * South Africa * South Korea * Spain * Sri Lanka * Sudan * Syria (Aleppo) * Tanzania * Thailand * Trinidad * Turkey (Istanbul) * Uganda * The U.A.E. (Dubai) * The United Kingdom * The Eastern United States * The Western United States * Oklahoma * Uruguay * Uzbekistan * Vietnam * The West Bank * Yemen * Zambia * Zimbabwe *
go back to previous picture go to next chapter go to next picture go to previous chapter page