Jarash located 48 Km north of Amman and nestled in a quiet valley among the mountains of Gilead, is the grandeur of Imperial Rome being one of the largest and most well preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world outside Italy. The city's golden age came under Roman rule, during which time it was known as Gerasa.
Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jarash reveals a fine example of the grand formal provincial Roman urbanism.
To this day, its paved and colonnaded streets, soaring, hilltop temples, handsome theaters, spacious public squares, and plazas, bath, and city walls pierced by towers and gates remain in exceptional condition.
Within the remaining city walls, archaeologists have found the ruins of settlements dating back to the Neolithic Age, indicating human occupation of this location for more than 6500 years. This is not surprising, as the area is ideally suited for human habitation. Jarash has a year-round supply of water, while its altitude of 500 meters gives it a temperate climate and excellent visibility over the surrounding low-lying areas.
Beneath its external Greco Roman veneer, Jarash also preserves a subtle blend of east and west. Its architecture, religion and languages reflect a process by which two powerful cultures meshed and coexisted, The Greco Roman world of the Mediterranean basin and the traditions of the Arab Orient.
The modern city of Jarash 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.
The Jarash Festival, held in July every year, transforms the ancient city into one of the world’s liveliest and most spectacular cultural events. The festival features folklore dances by local and international groups, ballet, concerts, plays, opera, popular singers and sales of traditional handicrafts, all in the brilliantly floodlit dramatic surroundings of the Jarash ruins.