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Jerash, ancient Gerasa, is one of Jordan’s major highlights. Eclipsed by the more famous Petra, it is arguably just as an impressive well excavated ancient city. It was one of the dominant cities of the Graeco-Roman trading federation, the Decapolis, which held sway in the region a century either side of the birth of Christ. Today you enter through the vast triumphal gate built to honour Emperor Hadrian’s visit in AD 129-30, and pass the long banks of seating by the hippodrome where a modern-day re-enactment legion recreates the battles and horse-racing of the Classical era. Your route then takes you through a wonderful oval plaza, loomed over by vast temples, and then along the main road, flanked by colonnades and still bearing the ruts of chariot wheels. The site has two theatres in excellent condition and numerous temples and churches, including the Temple of Artemis, which boasts a forest of stunning, delicately carved Corinthian columns. Jerash is well worth spending at least a couple of hours to explore, and will form one of the most lasting memories of your trip to Jordan.

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