Jordan: Jerash Roman Ruins.
Either you like Roman ruins, or you don't. Some people see only fields of broken marble; others imagine the glory of a lost civilization. Some, like Rome and Pompeii, are overrun with souvenir stands and tour groups. Jerash, the second most important tourist site in Jordan, is often deserted, except for solitary travelers and local school kids. The ruins lie on gently rolling hills north of Amman, not far from the Jordan River. Greeks founded the city in 333 B.C., in the wake of Alexander's conquest of the Middle East. Jesus may have wandered there: Bethlehem and Nazareth are nearby. Alexander founded the city 23 centuries ago, and Roman General Pompey conquered it 250 years later. Emperors Trajan and Hadrian visited in the Second Century. Swiss explorer Jean Louis Burckhardt came through in 1812, on his way to Petra, and camped for a few days near the Temple of Artemis. He was probably the first European to do so, but Jerash is not important enough to make that significant. I cut short my Petra visit one day so i could explore this other ancient city 300 miles north. The contrast between the two, in color, typography and design, is dramatic, but they were both conquered by Rome, had corinthian columns and Roman theatres, and grew fat with merchants trading spices, silks and incense from the East. They also both became ghost cities after earthquakes and new sea routes drove the trade and people away in the Sixth Century. Some people like this sleepy place in northern Jordan more than its famous neighbor down south. I would not say that, but Jerash in the springtime is a lovely, peaceful place.Read More