Grand Tour of Jordan: Jerash, Umm Qais, Pella

Sunday, October 2, 2005 | Jarash, Jordan

Fellow members of our study abroad group explore the Roman ruins at Jerash.
Just a few short weeks after our trip to see the main sites in southern Jordan, our group of American students loaded back onto the bus for another road trip. Here's what we saw, this time in northern Jordan:

Working on my tan in Jerash.
  • The Greco-Roman ruins at Jerash (جرش) were impressive, but nothing compared to sites in Syria like Afamea. Still, I got to clamber around some stones. Though first settled several millenia earlier, the Jerash that is preserved today was founded in the fourth century BC by Alexander the Great, and is renowned by archaeologists for its excellent state of preservation.
From Umm Qais, the Sea of Galilee spreads out below, with disputed land all around.
  • The ruins of the ancient Christian city of Gadara stand at the site known today as Umm Qais (أم قيس). From the hilltop, you can gaze down to Lake Tiberias, better known by it Biblical name, the Sea of Galilee. From here, one of the most disputed crossroads on earth, you can spot land controlled by Israel, Syria, and Jordan, including the Golan Heights in the distance.
Pella, a hillside without much to see.
  • Our final stop was the ancient site of Pella (طبقة فحل), an extremely ancient site whose importance to archaeologists seems to far surpass its interest to tourists. I didnt' find the hillside very interesting, but its 5,000-year history certainly gives imaginative shovel-pushers something to dig for.
After two long bus trips with our group, I'm grateful to have seen Jordan's main sites, and at least as grateful that this was the last of our group trips. Now, back to life in Amman.

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