Jerash

Travel Guide Middle East Jordan Jerash

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Introduction

The ancient city of Jerash boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years. The modern city of Jerash can be found to the east of the ruins. While the old and new share a city wall, careful preservation and planning has seen the city itself develop well away from the ruins so there is no encroachment on the sites of old.

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History

Jerash lies on a plain surrounded by hilly wooded areas and fertile basins. Conquered by General Pompey in 63 BC, it came under Roman rule and was one of the ten great Roman cities of the Decapolis League. The city's golden age came under Roman rule, during which time it was known as Gerasa, and the site is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash reveals a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theaters spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates.


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Sights and Activities

Signs describing the history of each set of ruins have been introduced, and you can pick up a map to orient yourself at the Visitor Centre, at the South Gate of the archaeological park. You can exit at the North Gate, which is across from the bus station.

The ruins are extensive compared to many other sites, but it's not hard to see everything in a couple of hours. It is unlikely that visitors will miss anything important.

Beware of the many touts inside the area, who will try to sell you "original" coins, artifacts and antiques, after they helped you taking your picture. If they stand in the way of your picture in front of the many sights, especially the Nymphaeum and the Temple of Artemis, firmly ask them to step aside. If they do not cooperate, tell them you will complain with the visitor center.

If you go first thing in the morning, you can avoid most of the tour groups arriving from Amman.

  • Jerash Ruins. summer 07:30-19:00; winter 08:00-17:00. The Temple of Artemis and the temple right after the entrance overlooking the Oval Plaza have hidden staircases in their walls, which allow you to climb up the ruins, having a great view of the surrounding area - be careful, there is no barrier at the top to prevent you falling off the ancient buildings. 10 JD for foreign visitors (0.5 JD for locals); free with Jordan Pass.

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Events and Festivals

Jerash Festival

Held every in July in the historical city of Jerash, this festival is one of the largest cultural celebrations in Jordan. Thousands descend to participate in special art and performances. Visitors will find music, dance, literature, food, handicrafts and general merriment among the festival goers. There are also artist’s workshops and seminars which are open for everyone to attend.

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Getting There

By Car

From 8th Circle in Amman, take the north-west road out towards Salt. Eventually you must turn northward, but brown tourism signs clearly mark the road towards Jerash.

A private taxi from Amman can be hired for 8-10 JD one-way. Expect to pay as much as 40 JD for a return trip and taxi driver staying on site while you look around. As always, negotiate the amount beforehand and specify that the price is for the whole taxi and not "per person," which most taxi drivers will try to charge you.

By Bus

Getting to Jerash is very easy and cost effective on your own and you don't need a tour. You can go to Jerash and back for 2 JD from the Tabarbour Bus Station in Amman. At the Tabarbour Bus Station, frequent buses leave for Jerash – 0.95 JD, about one hour (Oct 2018). From downtown Amman, head to the Raghadan Al Seyaha station next to the Roman Theater to catch the #6 Serviis taxi to Tabarbour station, it's the last stop for the serviis.

The minibuses to Amman leave from a junction by the handicraft building (10-minute walk south from the visitor's centre). When coming back to downtown from Tabarbour station tell the taxi driver you are going to Raghadan Al Seyaha. There is another Raghadan station in Amman that is a few kilometers from downtown so the last stop may be that one!

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Getting Around

Walking is the only choice you have – about 3 km all together. Get in at the south end of the archaeological site south of the Hippodrome. The North Gate is closed. If you are relatively fit and willing to take a risk, you can jump down from the wall to the right of the North Gate, which will put you across the road from the bus station.

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Eat

Along the road into Jerash there are several other restaurants from which to choose.

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Sleep

Accommodation in Jerash is sparse.

  • Hadrian's Gate Hotel, Jerash Main Road, opposite Hadrian's Arch, ☏ +962 77 779 3907. Inexpensive and very conveniently located across the road from the entrance to the archaeological park.
  • The Olive Branch, Ajloun Road (7 km outside town), ☏ +962 2 634 0555, fax: +962 2 634 0557, ✉ olivekh@go.com.jo. In the hills above town. Quiet and relaxed with a nice swimming pool, but only accessible by car or taxi. Apparently also has a campground. Own tent is required. The campground has lots of resort type luxuries. 5 JD for the campground.
  • Dibbin National Park. Camping. A bit outside the main town, recommended to visit in the week, the weekends are pretty busy. 3 JD.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Jordan is relatively well connected to the internet compared to many other countries in the Middle East. Internet cafes are all around Jordan and range from 1- 2 JD for half an hour. Wifi is getting more and more popular in Jordan, but is not very common everywhere. In larger places, you find free wifi and some coffee places and restaurants. Hotels tend to charge for wifi, but not always, so check beforehand.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Jordan's international country code is 962. The emergency numbers include 112 and 911, you can use them both.

Most of Jordan has mobile coverage. There are three mobile operators: Zain - the first and largest mobile provider, Orange and Umniah. You can buy SIM cards at any of these providers and if you are planning to make international calls, use Umniah as they are the cheapeast. Otherwise Zain is the better choice of mostly domestic calls. Using your own SIM in Jordan can be expensive, especially for internet.

Card-based temporary numbers can be purchased at the airport or any mobile shop for JOD5. These numbers can be subsequently recharged with a prepaid card starting at only JOD1. Temporary "throw away" phones can be bought at many mobile phone shops across the country for around JOD20-30, but a Jordanian must buy the phone before possession can be transferred to you.

Post

Jordan Post runs the postal services in the country. It has fairly reliable and cheap services and international post usually takes several days up to a week or more for countries further away. Opening hours of post offices are mostly between 7:00am and 5:00pm Saturday to Thursday and 7:00am to 1:00pm on Friday, although this depends whether it's a main city or smaller villages. In summer, there might be slighty longer opening hours. For larger packages, it might work out cheaper and certainly faster to use international courier services, including DHL, FedEx, TNT or UPS for example.

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This is version 9. Last edited at 11:25 on Jul 9, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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