The Roman City

Trip Start Feb 24, 2008
Trip End Mar 03, 2008

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Flag of Jordan  ,
Sunday, March 2, 2008

Jerash is an ancient walled city which is today the best preserved Roman city in the Middle East.
We entered through Hadrian's Arch, an impressive structure that was built in AD 129 in honour of the visitng Emperor Hadrian. Our tour with Issa, our guide, took us to see an old Olive press, the Hippodrome, the Oval Plaza or Forum, and then to the South Theatre. Here we were "treated" to a show by the Jordanian Bagpipers. According to our trusted Lonely Planet guidebook, if you see these bagpipers you should consider yourself lucky!
This was the end of our tour time so we spent our free time with Garth and "Teacher" Lyn, a delightful Aussie couple in our group.
We returned to the Oval Plaza to admire the 56 columns that remain and then took a walk along the Cardo Maximus, the city's main thoroughfare also known as The Colonaded Street. This is a really impressive road that still has the original flagstones with the ruts caused by the chariots that used this as their roadway. Standing there you are almost able to imagine the noise of thundering hooves and chariot wheels speeding through the column lined roadway, were these the early joy-riders? :-)
As we walked along we stopped to admire the remains of the 4th Century Cathedral, Umayyad houses, the Temple of Artemis and the Artemis Steps. At the end of the road there was a not-so-impressive looking building which had been used for meetings of Government. Annie thought it was the North Theatre and Lyn suggested that, even though we were fast running out of time, we should pop in to see it. Well, talk about being completely blown away. The entrance led to an outer passageway, much like one that rings a modern-day stadium to allow you to walk around to your seats, and that gave us access to the Theatre. WOW! We were entering at the tier about three quarters of the way up the seating and, way below, was the stage and central area. If we had had the time we would most likely have just sat and soaked in the atmosphere as we were alone in this amazing theatre. Sadly we had to make a dash back to the bus. Arriving back at the shops, we found Mohammad, our driver, waiting for us to lead us back to the bus to return us to Amman and our hotel. I must say that these were without doubt the most impressive ruins with the most atmosphere and impact that I have ever had the pleasure of visiting!
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