By the Editors of the Madain Project

Jerash (جرش) is a city in northern Jordan. Jerash is the site of the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa, also referred to as Antioch on the Golden River. Ancient Greek inscriptions from the city support that the city was founded by Alexander the Great and his general Perdiccas, who allegedly settled aged Macedonian soldiers there during the spring of 331 BCE. After the Roman conquest in 63 BCE, Jerash and the land surrounding it were annexed to the Roman province of Syria, and later joined the Decapolis league of cities. The historian Josephus mentions the city as being principally inhabited by Syrians, and also having a small Jewish community.


The earliest evidence of settlement in Jerash is in a Neolithic site known as Tal Abu Sowan, where rare human remains dating to around 7500 BCE were uncovered. Jerash flourished during the Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods until the mid-eighth century CE, when the 749 CE Galilee earthquake destroyed large parts of it, while subsequent earthquakes contributed to additional destruction.

In the year 1120 CE, Zahir ad-Din Toghtekin, atabeg of Damascus ordered a garrison of forty men to build up a fort in an unknown site of the ruins of the ancient city. It was captured in 1121 CE by Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, and utterly destroyed. Then, the Crusaders immediately abandoned Jerash and withdrew to Sakib (Seecip); the eastern border of the settlement. erash was then deserted until it reappeared in the historical record at the beginning of Ottoman rule in the area during the early 16th century CE.

Notable Structures

circa 220-749 CE

When the Hadrianic project to expand the city over the south necropolis was abandoned, the western side ofthe Gerasa-Philadelphia road was free to build this hippodrome (meaning "circus" in Latin). It is the smallest known hippodrome of the Roman Empire, and also the best preserved; particularly the arched carceres, which are the starting gates where the horses would be positioned.

Built for chariot racing, it was 265 meters long and fifty meters wide. The monument was probably completed in the early third century CE and could accommodate up to seventeen thousand spectators. However, it isuncertain as to whether the track was actually ready for use, allowing competition between the "reds", "greens", "blues" and "whites", which were the colours worn by the competing teams.

By thelate fourth century CE the northern part of the hippodrome had been transformed in to an amphitheater for gladiatorial fights and other sports, while the south part was abandoned and squatted by potters. Between the sixth and eighth centuries CE this monument was used as a quarry, with materials taken to repair the city wall. At the same time, artisan dyers reused part of the ruins as workshops. In the eighth century CE the area became the site of mass graves for the hurried burial of hundreds of victims of plague. It was the great earthquake of 749 CE that led to the final ruin of the Gerasa hippodrome.

circa 570 CE

Church of Marianos
According to the perfectly preserved inscription found in the church, it was built in 570 CE under the episcopate of Bishop Marianos, after whon it was named. Much of the geometric-patterned mosaic floor remains intact, offering a beautiful example of a typical element of Byzantine church intetior. The plan of the church is quite simple. It is made up of a single nave that is reached through a passage, or narthex, that leads there from the entrance. The passage opens on to the main road that led from Philadelphia to Gerasa.

The church sits amid scores of subterranean first and second century CE tombs and was probably built there for or by squatters who occupied the ruins of the hippodrome in the sixth and seventh centuries. It is thought that they were a group of artisans, potters and dyers. Three chambers of the nearby hippodrome were converted in to living quarters with mosaic floors, and an inscription adorned with birds points that this was the residence of a deacon called Elias. The deacon's house was then abandoned in the early seventh century CE, more approximately a century before the church was destroyed by the earthquake of 749 CE.

circa 600-749 CE

Mortuary Church
The remains of this small, single nave, seventh century CE church are located on the back of a steep, rocky slope. It has a somewhat trapezoidal shape with a protruding apse. Two doors led into the interior of the church, and both were located in the northern wall. The south end of the nave led toa man-made cave in the rock. Excavators initially took this to be a tomb, thus giving the structure its name "mortuary church" or the "tomb church". The church also lies near an area where there are many tombs; however there are no characteristics to confirm the cave inside the church-structure was a place of burial in antiquity. Former director of the Jordanian Department of Antiquities, Gerald Lankester Harding, had made a request to be buried here. He passed away in 1979 CE and his ashes were scattered here.

As with most other churches in Gerasa, the floor was paved with mosaics, which unfortunately have suffered the ravages of time. A later addition to the church is benches built along three walls of the interior; north, south and west. The church underwent several renovations, and was eventually abandoned, most likely in the seventh century CE.

circa 165-170 CE

Northern Tetrapylon
Lying at the intersection of the Cardo and the northern Decumanus, the north tetrapylon is a true tetrapylon - unlike the southern tetrapylon, which comprises four monuments. The tetrapylon means "four gates" or "four pillars" and is usually square-shaped structure with a portal on all four sides. This one was topped with a dome, the ancient one having been rebuilt to what is seen today. The northern tetrapylon was probably erected between the years 165-170 CE, before the cardo was widened. Its north and south faces were embellished with projecting corinthian columns that stood on tall bases designed as lion-headed fountains, although they don't seem to have ever operated as they are not connected to any water system.

An inscription was later added beneath one of the niches on the west face of the tetrapylon to honour the procurator of the province, Decimus Junius Arabianus Socratus, and his family. The west facade looks out on to a well built section of the northern Decumanus, which is paved and lined with porticoes and lies in front of the civic center of the city.

circa 129/130 CE

Hadrian's Arch
This magnificient arch was built in honour of emperor Hadrian's visit to Gerasa during the winter of 129/130 CE. It is also linked with plans to extend the city around four hundred meters south of the original entrance at the south gate, though this planned extension was never seen through.

This impressive triple-arched monument is one of the largest known arches of the Roman Empire. It was also ornately decorated, with half-column bases adorned with acanthus leaves. A magnificient Greek inscription adorned the northern facade looking towards the city. Soon after the inscription was engraved, the titles of "sacred, asylum and independent" given to the city were erased. This was probably done on order from the emperor, and indicates that there were political disturbances within Gerasa, which probably occured at the time of the second Jewish Revolt (circa 132-135 CE).

Today the arched-portal is known as the Bab Amman in Arabic, literally meaning the 'gate of Amman', as it stands on the road towards the city of Amman (ancient Philadelphia). It has been restored to give a closer impression of the grandeur it once imposed.

circa 162-450 CE

Sanctuary of Zeus Olympios
Commanding a great view from atop the hill overlooking the oval plaza, the sanctuary of Zeus Olympios was a place of worship from the Bronze Age up to the late Roman period. During the Roman era an important religious monument was built here and later expanded up the hilltop.

The sanctuary ismade up of two main structures, a lower and an upper terrace. The actual visible lower terrace, which measures 100 by 50 meters, was built first in 27/28 CE by Diodoro son of Zebedas, and architect from Gerasa. A unique feature of this sanctuary is a vaulted corridor that ran around the periphery, some of which can still be seen today, and was embellished with facades of Ionic half-columns supporting a Doric frieze. In 162/163 CE a large temple was built on the higher ground above the sanctuary and a grand staircase was added in to the wastern facade of the lower terrace to access it.

After the mid fifth century CE the sanctuary was re-used by subsequent settlers as a monastery during Byzantine times and later by farmers and craftsmen. Abandoned after the earthquake of 749 CE, it was briefly reoccupied around the 12th century CE by a small group of Crusaders.

circa 190/191 CE

As the city of Gerasa thrieved and expanded there was a greater need for a substantial and continuous water source within the city. Around 125 CE Gerasa's water supply system was built and by the end of the second century CE the flow of the main aqueduct was increased to address a growing demand for water following the construction of the baths. This imposing nymphaeum was then built around the year 190/191 CE to add a main source of water to the multiple small public fountains that had previously been built along the cardo.

The nymphaeum is thus a monumental fountain that served the public's daily water needs. It sits along themain street and consisted of two side aisles which enclosed a central semi-circular apse that was topped with a concrete vault. The two levels of the facade were richly ornamented with carvings, panels, and Corinthian columns. The lower level was adorned with marble panels and the upper level decorated with painted stucco. Water spouted from the mouths of several carved lion heads into a large, deep basin that occupied the entire width of the monument. The water would run continuously and anyoverflow was collected by the sewege system.

circa 220-300 CE

Oil Press
In about 220 CE the rocky floor of the southern-most shop of the west souk was dug down in order to house an oil mill. The ancient oil press has been well preserved and can still be seen here today.

A staircase cut in to the rock enabled access to the oil mill from the sidewalk of the western souk. In the center of the room you can see the stone remains of the crushing wheel machine. The press itself stood in a large niche on the west side, facing the door. The press differed from the traditional system used for pressing the crushed olives, whereby in place of the usual level was a horizontal beam that was lowered by turning two vertical wooden screws. The foundations of the city wall now partly recovered cover the oil mill, indicating that the wall was built after the oil press was destroyed orabandoned.

Various materials and ancient items were unearthed here, including glass, ceramics, bronzelamps,iron tools and coins. These revealed that the press area along with the carpenter workshop and house on the floors above were destroyed by a violent fire at the end of the third century CE. This was during a raid on the city when it was not yet fortified. The city wall was thus built during this time to protect the city.

circa 129/130 CE

Southern Gate and the City Wall
The southern gate is a monumental arch that stands at the southern entrance to the city. Today it is the main gateway providing access to the ancient city, but this was not always the case. The vaulted passage seen further in, beyond the gate, once marked the entrance to ancient Gerasa, and it sits at the start of the road to Philadelphia (the ancient name for the city of Amman).

With triple arches flanked by half-columns, there's a lot of similarity between the design of this gate and the Hadrianic Arch. Although no dedicatory inscription has been found, it is possible that this gate was a prototype for the larger monumental arch. The south gate may have been built just before the emperor Hadrian's visit and it is therefore likely that it was built in his honour.

This gate later became part of the 3.4 kilometers long city wall that was constructed at the beginning of the fourth century CE, probably after a group of looters burned and destroyed large parts of the city. Remains do not indicate the existence of any earlier defensive walls, which means that Jerash would have been an open city well in to the early Byzantine period.

circa 125 CE

Oval Plaza
This magnificient oval plaza is emblematic of the ancient city of Gerasa in its architecture, its grandeur and its development. The oval shape is unique and the plaza was actually built to connect the cardo (the main north-south street of Gerasa) with the Sanctuary of Zeus. In effect it is an enlargement of the street; an architectural means to join the two axes, which were not aligned, by widening the street in an oval shape in front of the main access point to the sanctuary.

While the plaza and the Ionic columns that line the perimeter were probably built in the beginning of the second century CE, under the rule of emperor Trajan, the paving came much later, not before the fourth century CE.

Two small monuments decorated the center of this plaza; the first was a base for a group of statues, possibly representing priestesses, which were offered by some high ranking members of the Hadriane-Helios tribe of Gerasa. The second was a small base on which stood four columns, a tetrakionion, which perhaps protected a statue of the emperor Hadrian.

circa 635-640 CE

Umayyad or Abbasid Era Mosque
During the time of the Islamic expansion (635-640 CE) Gerasa conceded to the Muslim leaders without any major conflict. Social and economic life continued as usual and the Umayyad coins were minted in Jerash.

When Umayyad rule began here, it is likely that the majority of the city's population remained Christian while only the administration were Muslims, so a large number of the churches continued to operate. WIth time, as the population progressively began to convert to Islam, the city needed a mosque. Thus, in the first half of the eighth century CE, probably under the reign of caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik (circa 724-743 CE), a large congregational mosque was built in the heart of the city.

The mosque's plan is typical of others at the time, consisting of a spacious central open court flanked by porticoes on three sides. The fourth side consisted of a large hall (approx 39x14 meters) used for prayers. It was divided in to three naves by two rows of columns, and was built to shelter the worshippers.

circa 180-749 CE

Great Eastern Baths
Seven public bath-houses dating from between the second century CE and the Umayyad era have been discoverd so far in the ancient Gerasa. While some were only a few dozen square meters in size, the great east baths occupied more than 25,000 square-meters.

This is the largest landmark in the ancient city and the only major building from the Roman period to have been erected on the eastern back of the valley (Wadi). It lies between the outlets of the two ancient bridges spanning the Chrysorhoas River. The baths were deliberately built close to the important Ain Qairawan spring.

Set in a vast courtyard surrounded by colonnades, the bath-house has vaulted ceilings dressed stone set in an orderly pattern. It was built in the second half of the second century CE. THe north hall, a series of richly decorated rooms, was added to the norther side of the baths in the late third century CE. This addition reflects the increased importance of the baths in the social, political and administrative life of the city. The baths have not been yet excavated.

circa 529-533 CE

Church of Cosmas and Damianus
The church of Saints Cosmas and Damianus is one of a complex of three churches that share an atrium; besides it is the Church of Saint John the Baptist and next to that is the church of Saint George. The Three were constructed between the years 529 and 533 CE, during the episcopate of Paul.

Two rows of the arched pillars separate the aisles from the nave. A baptistery was added later in the sixth century, which is shared with the adjacent church. This church features a remarkable mosaic floor depicting wonderful animal and human figures. The mosaic remains in excellent condition, which is rare given the iconoclasm that destroyed images in churches across the region. This mosaic most likely survived as it was abandoned during the seventh century CE. The most notable images here are thought to be that of the church warden Theodoros and his wife Giorgia.

The name of the church is taken from an inscription that names twin brothers who were devout Christian physicians. The brothers were killed by the Romans, and as saints they are known as the "unmercenary" as they practiced medicine free of charge for the poor.

circa 800 BCE - 130 CE

Southern Necropolis
The southern necropolis was one of the main burial areas of the ancient city of Gerasa. This cemetery extended more than a mile beyond the south gate on either side of the road that linked the ancient Gerasa to Philadelphia.

In the past, some sarcophagi and rare monumental mousoleums could be seen above ground on both sides of the road.However, most of the tombs were underground (hypogeal),single shaft, undecorated rooms dug in to the bedrock. Some tombs had loculi, which are recesses within the tombs where bodies would be placed. Bodies were maily placed in stone or lead sarcophagi or wooden coffins or wrapped in shrouds and simple laid on the ground. The few tombs discovered that were not looted were found to contain rich furniture but very few funerary inscriptions. Most of the graves are anonymous, except fro that of "the bakers".

The cemetery was used from the Iron Age (circa 800 BCE) to the beginning of the second century CE. Between 130 CE and the Byzantine period, burials were stopped here as the area between the south gate and the Hadrian's Arch was planned to be used for an urban extension project which never materialized.

circa 150 CE

Temple of Artemis
This temple was built as a shrine to Artemis, who was the patron goddess of Gerasa. It lies inside the large courtyard of the sanctuary. The construction of the temple began in the second century CE, however, it was never finished and only twelve columns out of a planned total of thirty-two were erected.

The temple sits on an extensive system of underground vaults, the exact purpose of which is not known. At the back is an adytum, or the inner shrine, where only the Roman priest would be permitted. The inner sanctuary contains a niche for a deity and two side chambers. One of the chambers has a staircase leading down to the vaults, and a second chamber has a staircase leading up to the roof, indicating that there may have been an altar on top.

The temple was used during later times as well, possibly as a church during the Byzantine era, by potters during the Umayyad times and in the 12th or 13th century CE it may have been used as a fort by a group of Crusaders.

circa 494-749 CE

Church of Saint Theodore
As with most other churches found in Jerash, the three-aisled basilica of Saint Theodore was constructed using many stone blocks taken from earlier Roman structures. The main entrance is from the west, consisting of an imposing doorway decorated with intricate carvings and an inscription that reads " was built in year 494/496 during the episcopate of Aeneas and in honour of the victorious Theodore, immortal martyr".

Inside, the church is divided by two rows of large stone columns. The apse overlooks the fountain courtyard (inspect) below and was flanked by two staircases that led up to it from the courtyard. The pulpit of the priest is still somewhat preserved; piecesofcarved marble plates that probably decorated it were found here.

Two chapels were later added to the church, one to the north and one to the south, as well as a baptistery. The baptistery isquite well-preserved and consists of a niche that may have been the waiting room, which led to the baptism room, and then an exit. This system would have allowed for more than one person to be baptized at a time.

The church was apparently being refurbished when it was destroyed by the earthquake in 749 CE.

circa 80-96 CE

Southern Theatre
The southern theatre os the largest and oldest of the three ancient theaters in Jerash, the other two being the 'northern theatre' and the 'Birketein theatre'. This one is of typical Roman architectural-plan that was built between the years 80 and 96 CE and itis estimated that it could seat more than three thousand people at a time. Several inscriptions found here indicate that the theatre was financed by a number of generous benefactors, includinga former legionnaire.

Theatres were an important part of ancient Roman life, where cultural performances weould be staged. The southern theatre included an imposing and richly decorated stage with a backdrop (scaenae frons), made up ofat least two superimposed levels of Corinthian columns, sections of it were still visible in the early 19th century CE.

Parts of the theatre were ruined by the earthquake of 749 CE, after which it probably served as a fortress during the medieval times to shelter a small group of Crusaders before the Muslims reconquered the region permanently. In 1878 CE the residents of Gerasa began disassembling parts of the scaenae frons to build the houses of the new village. Despite these damages, today the theatre is in relatively good condition and is often used for concerts, particularly during the annyal Jarash festival.

circa 180-749 CE

Northern Theatre
The north theatre is explicitly referred to as an odeon, also spelled as odeion, in a late second century CE inscription that ran along the architrave of the scaenae frons (decorative background of the stange), it was thus used to stage music and poetry recitals.

However, it was originally built as a bouleuterion, used for meetings of the boule (municipal council) and for the assembly of representatives of the twelve civic tribes of the city. It had a small cavea (seats set in a hemicycle) and a simple scenic wall with three monumental entrances. A section of the seating (cuneus) was reserved for the boule. The three remaining sections were allocated to the representativesof each tribein proportion to the importance of the tribe, as inscriptions carved on the seats attest. The theater is the only place in the world found to date where such information of the local civic life in an ancient city is so well preserved.

It is unknown whenthe bouleuterion was consructed, but it may have been during the reign of Hadrian, or perhaps even Trajan. It was enlarged and transformed in to an odeon in 165/166 CE with the addition of an upper level of seating.It was then equipped with a velum, a removable canvas covering suspended on cables.

The building was eventually abandoned and then reoccupied during the Umayyad period by the potters before being reduced to ruins by the earthquake in 749 CE.

circa 200-575 CE

Southern Tetrapylon
The intersection of the two main streets of the city (the cardo and the south decumanus) was marked by a round plaza. At the centre stood the monumental tetrapylon, though all that remains of it today are four solid pedestals embellished with niches. Originally, each pedestal supported four columns made of pink granite from Aswan, in Egypt, topped with an entablature. The pink granite may have been a gift from the emperor or a luxurious import. The four sets of four columns are called a tetrakionion.

At the end of the fourth century CE, pedestals supported statues of the emperors Diocletian, Meximian Hercules, Constantius Chlorus and Galerius, known as the Tetrarchs as they all ruled at the same time between 395-406 CE. In the sixth century CE, severalof the granitecolumns were re-usedin the construction of the octagonal Martyrion church thatwas built some five hundred meters from the ramparts in the "northern necropolis".

circa 120/170 CE

The cardo is the main streets of Gerasa, formning the primary axis from which the rest of the city branches out. This 800 meters long street connectes the north gate with the oval plaza in a straight line. The street was built at the start of the second century CE and is part of the earlier phases of the city planning. In its heyday it formed the main access to the Sanctuary of Zeus, the city's most important monument at the time. The Cardo evolved as the city grew, with expansions, sidewalk enlargements and intersections added.

There are many interesting features to note along the Cardo, starting with the columns that line the entire street. The designs, carvings and even the stone used differ, as only few of the columns are the original Roman ones designed fro it while most of them were totally rebuilt in the Byzantine period. Large portions of the sidewalks were also modified or rebuilt in the fifth and sixth centuries, with stones taken from earlier monuments such as the Temple of Zeus. Thelimestone paving is marked with grooves left by the repeated passing ofchariots. In some places the bedrock appears to peek through the stones. Under the street is a large ancient sewage system, which probably dates to the mid third century CE.

circa 450-749 CE

The cathedral of Jerash is the oldest known Byzantin chruch in Gerasa and was most likely built circa 450 or 455 CE during the time of bishop Placcus. The site was previously occupied by a pagan sancturay, perhaps dedicated to Dionysos, the god of wine. During his reign Bishop Placcus dismantled the Temple of Zeuz and used some of the stones for this church, as well as to build the nearby baths named after him. This church was dubbed "the cathedral" by the American excavation team that unearthed the structure in 1929 CE.

The wonderful architecture of the "cathedral" is still apparent in what remains today. The main entrance to the church is on the west side, from an atrium, called the fountain courtyard.

Eight other entrances also allowed access to the church and inside the space is partitioned in to three sections by two rows of columns with an apse at the front of the church that only the priest would have access to. The columns and walls contain the holes, which may have been used for attaching decorative plaster panels and bronze embellishments/ornaments.

circa 110-749 CE

Southern Street and the Eastern Market
In the early second century (circa 110 CE) a strip of fifteen workshops werebuilt just outside the limit of the city at the time, along the first fifty meters of what was the road that led to ancient Philadelphia (Amman). This was before the 'South Gate' was built, as the foundations of the last shop today lie under the gate. The shops seem to have been occupied by craftsmen, carpernters, pottery merchants and at least one bronze worker. This market would have served people going in to and out of the city.

The shops were in use until the third century CE when, probably during the "looter's raid", a fire destroyed part of the city including the eastern market (souk). It was then rapidly repaired and briefly reoccupied as shops. Soon after though, at the turn of the third to fourth century CE, the souk-market was deliberately razed to the ground in order to shift the street here to create direct access to the oval plaza from the south gate.

The ruins of the souk were covered by the new south-street that was built on top of them, while the former location of the road was then gradually occupied by artisan workshops until the 749 CE earthquake destroyed the city.

circa 280 CE

North Hall
The north hall is a set of thirteen richly decorated rooms that were addedto the eastern great baths around the late third century CE. Although the rooms themselves are a physical extension of the baths, the north hall does not show any evidence of usage as an additional bath, for there is no evidence of a heating system or pool. The thirteen rooms are arranged arounda long paved central courtyard that is aligned on a west-east axis, perpendicular to the main axis of the baths. The north hall courtyard and surrounding rooms were probably used forgathering, debates, sport, and socialize in general.

Most rooms open on to the courtyard through wide doorways framed by porticos with Corinthian columns and pilasters. All these columsn and pilasters were adorned with one or sometimes two marble or bronze statues portraying either mythical characters linked to the cult of Dionysos or political figures, such as emperors and governors. Excavations have revealed many marble statues, some of which are thought to have been taken from the monuments in the west side of the city. It is quite possible that after the destruction of the civic center in the fourth century CE, the north hall could have served as thetemporary civic center for the city, although this is uncertain. It is clear that the north hall held considerable social and political significance in ancient Gerasa.

circa 130 CE

Agora and the Civic Basilica
Although this vast part of the ancient city has not yet been excavated, two key structures have been identified here which, along with the nearby north theatre/bouleuterion, would have made this the civic center of Gerasa, a layout commonly found in the Greco-Roman cities of antiquity. The agora was an open air meeting place where citizens would assemble and the basilica was a huge public building that was used for various purposes, including official gatherings, court discussions, and it is possibly the place where the city archives were stored. In its heyday this part of the town would have been bustling with life every day, as citizens and officials alike met and went about their daily business here.

The agora was accessed through any of the three entrance off the cardo maximus and one off thenorth decumanus. Deside it, and opposite the north theatre is a very large basilica with a hall that was more than 30 meters wide and stretched some one hundred meters in length. The side wall of the basilica is still visible today. Two rows of column bases line the length of the structure, indicating a typical basilica plan.

The basilica and agora were possibly designed during the Trajan's reign and built during the time of Hadrian. The charred remains suggest that these structures may have been destroyed by a violent fire in the late third century CE, possibly when Gerasa was raided and destroyed by looters.

circa 150 CE

Western Market and Barracks
This area, at the foot of the Temple of Zeus and on the west side of the Gerasa-Philadelphia road, would have been with travellers moving in to and out of the city. Thus it was a great commercial location, and in the second century CE at least four shops were set up here. Partly dug out of the rock, the shops were occupied by wood-working craftsmen and many of their tools have been found here. The colonnade in front of the shops supported two small (100 square meters) but wealthy dwellings above. This entire set of buldings was destroyed in the later third century CE by a fire set by looters raiding the city.

Following the raid, construction began to fortify the city. It was at this time that the city walls were built. The ruins of the western souk-market lay right beside the south gate, and so there were levelled and the area was used to build a small military barracks around a central courtyard. These housed the guards protecting access to the fortifications, which were built at the same time in the early fourth century CE. After being altered several times, the barracks were probably abandoned in the seventh century CE.

circa 115-749 CE

Northern Gate
This arched-gate marked the northern main entrance to the ancient city of Jerash (Gerasa). It was built in year 115 CE, befor the southern gate. Inscription on the facade dedicates the gate to the "founder of the city", emperor Trajan. A unique feature of this gate its trapezoidal shape. It was built like this to shift the axis of the riad slightly to the west on order to align it with the city's cardo. Otherwise the architecture is simple, with single passageway that served both carriages and pedestrians. The walls of the city to the either side do not link up to it smoothly, indicating that the gate was built as a freestanding structure and then later included in the fortifications.

The gate leads in to the northern section of the cardo, which is quite different in structure from the southern part. Here the road is a lot narrower and the sidewalks are simpler. Most noticeably; the colonnades that line this part of the street are shorter and their columns are Ionic in style, like those of the oval plaza. The Street here has been preserved in its original form, while further down it was widened and embellished with Corinthian colonnades.

circa 550 CE

Church of the Propylaea
This was once part of the magnificienttiered way to the sanctuary of the Artemis, which began on the east bank of the wadi and consisted of a bridge, an arch,colonnaded street, trapezoidal plaza and monumental propylaea. After the bridge connecting the twosides of the wadi collapsed in the mid sixth century CE, this section of the street was transformed in to a three-nave basilica.

A triplylon (three doors) that morked the start to the broken bridge was filled in to become an apse, while the western end of the street (the cardo side) was closed off with a wall pierced by an axial gateway. The two Corinthian colonnades of the street were incorporated as supports for the roof of the church. On the west side, preceding the main entrance of the church, the ancient trapezoidal plaza was transformed in to an atrium (courtyard with porticos) that opened on to the Cardo.

It is uncertain exactly when these transformations were made, but it was certainly before 565 CE, which is when a beautiful mosaic was laid in the diakonia (sacristy), which was itself installed in one of the niches of the trapezoidal plaza. And the church was most likely destroyed in the earthquake of 749 CE.

circa 150-800 CE

Shops of the South Cardo
The cardo was the backbone of the ancient town of Gerasa, where all citizens and visitors would pass regularly as they went about their daily business. Merchants would set up shops that line the city's busiest street and are situated between the entrances to important buildings. Along the southern part of the Cardo the structures of some of these shops are still visible today, as well as the facades of the eight macellum shops. Originally built in the second century CE, the south-cardo shops were considerably modified with several additions and unplanned extensions in the later times, manly in the seventh century CE onwards.

The Umayyad and Abbasid era transformations were probably set up by the merchants themselves, despite the wishes of the municipal administration, as the shops eventually completely took over the original sidewalk of the cardo maximus.

These shops would have been occupied by a variety of merchants, artists, and craftsmen, and would sometimes be grouped together by the type of trade or business. An interesting relic found here is a marble slab with Nuskhi Arabic inscriptions thatseemto be a shop ledger, listing the amounts owed to the shopowner by customers. It is most likely from the Abbasid period. Another item discoverd is an outlandishly designed ceramic pot adorned with rings and horses' heads, possibly on sale for those residents with more bizarre tastes in art or to show the technical savior-faire of the potter.

circa 190-850 CE

The macellum is the Latin word for a food market, which would typocallybe found in a prominent location within Roman cities. In Jerash the macellum, set at the side of the cardo, occupied a complete insulae (quarter) of the area between the oval plaza and the south tetrapylon (intersection of two streets). It was built at the end of the second century CE with blocks re-used from other structures of the city.

The macellum has a unique octagonal shape, and is based around a paved courtyard with a Greek cross-shaped fountain at its center. The courtyard is bordered by portico of Corinthian columns that opened on to exedras, or large niches, alternating between rectangle and semi-circular shape. The merchat stalls would have been setup inside these exedras. One of them semms to have housed a butcher's shop as a thick stone slab with countless knif marks and grooves was found here, and the bases for this tablehave carved sheep, pig, veal and lion heads.

Along with other parts of the city, the market was apparently burned at the end of the third century CE by the robbers. It waslater rebuiltand remodeled over many stages, and in the Umayyad period it was converted in to a workshop for dyeing cloth. The ruins were probably also re-occupied in the Abbasid period.

circa 450 CE

Fountain Court
This courtyard formed the atrium of the cathedral and was surrounded by a portico of columns on all four sides.It was nearly square shaped, before being cut in to on its western side for the construction of the apse of the church dedicated to saint Theodore. The courtyard is particularly notable for the hard limestone paving that covers its entiresurface and the beautiful square basin that adornes its center, which earned it the name "Fountain Court".

Decorated with several carved blocks, many of which were reused from coffered ceilings taken from the mon altar of the Temple of Artemis, this installation underwest several changes and improvements. However, it is not clear what the original form of the courtyard was prior to the construction of the cathedral in circa 450-55 CE.

There was a legend that at a certaintime every yer the water of thisfountain turned in to wine, thus repeating at Gerasa the miracle of the celebration of the wedding at Cana. It is unclear how much significance can be given to this story, as it is based on a text by Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, which was written down about a century before the fountain was built. Although Epiphanius documented the event,he had only heard about it and did not actually witness the miracel.

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