The ancient Jerash is the second most visited city in Jordan after Petra. It is located north of the capital city Amman, less than 1 hour drive. Excavations show that this city was inhabited since the time of the so-called Neolithic age. Ancient Greek inscriptions found during archaeological excavations of the city, confirm that the city Gerasa was founded by Alexander III of Macedon and his general Perdiccas. However, the peak of the development and prosperity of the Jerash is considered to be the period of time, when Jerash was part of Decapolis, the Roman Empire. And today, Jerash is considered the largest and best preserved architectural monument of ancient Rome outside of Italy. In the Byzantine Period, the city reached a size of 800,000 sq.m. But after the Persian invasion in 614 AD, the city quickly fell into decay. During the so-called Early Islamic Period, the city began to flourish again under the control of the Umayyad Caliphate. The city had numerous shops, issued coins and became a center for ceramic production. The strong Galilee earthquake of 749 destroyed most of Jerash. And only during the Mamluk Sultanate and the Ottoman period, Jerash was resettled again.
Archaeological excavations of Jerash began in 1920’s and continue to this day. Most of the archaeological remains belong to the Greco-Roman and Early Islamic Periods. Modern Jerash has developed dramatically in the last century, this beautiful and developed city has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Jordan. Another cultural attraction is the famous Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts, which was founded in 1981 by Queen Noor. It is an annually-held event, a three-week summer program of dance, music and theater shows performed by Jordanian, Arab and foreign artists. Travel Agency Jordan Journey offers various sightseeing tours of the ancient city of Jerash as part of your custom trip to Jordan or our popular Dead Sea 1 Day Tour from Amman.