Sunday, March 28, 2010


Kena baca dulu sejarah Jerash ni.Entri seterusnya berkenaan WIKIPEDIA di Jerash.

The large Roman theater of Jerash.

Dubbed the "Pompeii of the East," Jerash is a Greco-Roman ruined city located 80 miles north of Amman. The impressive, beautifully preserved ruins of Jerash include places of worship and other buildings from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and early Muslim periods.


In the 3rd century BC, during the Hellenistic era, Jerash became a member of the Decapolis, a federation of Greek cities. It was then known as Gerasa.

Gerasa and other Decapolis cities were conquered by Pompey in 63 BC, which ended up being a positive development. Jerash enjoyed semi-autonomous status and considerable prestige as part of the Roman province of Syria, during which it prospered from its position on the incense and spice trade route.

Jerash lost its autonomy under Emperor Trajan, but his annexation of Petra in 106 AD brought the city even more wealth. A favorite city of Hadrian, who stayed there in the winter of 129-30, it flourished both economically and socially in the 2nd century. Several temples were built during this period, including the Temple of Artemis (in 150 AD) and Temple of Zeus (in 162 AD).

After a period of decline in the 3rd century, Jerash was reborn as a Christian city under the Byzantines. It flourished especially during the reign of Justinian (527-65), during which at least seven churches were added to the city.

The last church was built in 611, but it all went downhill from there. The city was invaded by Persians in 614, captured by Muslims in 635 and badly damaged by several earthquakes in the 8th century.

In 720, Caliph Yazid II decreed that "all images and likenesses in his dominions, of bronze and of wood and of stone and of pigments, should be destroyed." Obedience to this command can be seen in the mosaics of some of Jerash's churches, such as that of St. John the Baptist. But others, already so ruined that their mosaics were not visible (such as the Church of Sts. Cosmos and Damianus), escaped the destruction

By the time the Crusaders arrived in the 12th century, Jerash had been unhabited for some time. Unfortunately, a garrison stationed in the area by the Atabey of Damascus made the Temple of Artemis into a fortress, which was captured and completely destroyed (apparently by fire) by King Baldwin II of Jerusalem in 1112.

Excavations of Jerash began in the 1920s and are still going on today.

What to See

Jerash is a large and fascinating archaeological site. Visitors enter on the south side through Hadrian's Arch, built in honor of its namesake. Nearby is the Hippodrome, where chariot races and sporting events were held. A little way down the track is the South Gate, part of the 4th-century AD city wall.

The Temple of Zeus overlooks the spacious Oval Plaza, which measures 90 x 80m. Surrounded by a colonnade of 1st-century Ionic columns, it had two altars in the middle that were replaced with a fountain in the 7th century AD. A central column was recently erected to carry the Jerash Festival flame.

From the Oval Plaza, a staircase leads up to the sacred precinct (temenos) of the Temple of Zeus (162 AD). Another staircase led to the temple itself, which was surrounded by 15 m high Corinthian columns.

Stretching north from the Oval Plaza is the Cardo Maximus, the main Roman road in Jerash. It is still paved with its original stones and bears the ruts of chariot wheels. As part of a remodeling of the street around 170 AD, the original Ionic columns were replaced with a more decorative Corinthian colonnade. The Cardo was lined with a broad sidewalk and shops and an underground sewage system ran the full length of the street, into which rainwater was channeled through holes on the sides of the street.

Not far from the Oval Plaza on the right is the onsite Archaeological Museum, which houses a fascinating collection of artifacts found at the site, including gold jewelry, coins, glass and even pottery theater tickets.

The colonnade of the Cardo becomes taller at the entrance to the marketplace (Macellum), a ruined structure on the left. Here there is a fountain with a lion's head dated to 211 AD. The next structure down the Cardo after the marketplace is a recently discovered Umayyad Mosque, where excavations are still underway.

Shortly after the mosque is the South Tetrapylon that marks the intersection of the Cardo with the South Decumanus, a smaller street running east to west. Only the lower parts of the four columns marking the intersection remain today.

Continuing north on the Cardo, the next building on the left is the richly carved gate of the 2nd-century Roman Temple of Dionysus, which was rebuilt as a Byzantine church in the 4th century. It has been dubbed the "Cathedral," but there is no evidence this was the bishop's church. At the top of the stairs against the east wall is a Shrine of the Virgin Mary, with a painted inscription to St. Mary and the archangels Michael and Gabriel.

Just behind the Cathedral is the large Church of St. Theodore, built in 496 AD. In between the two churches is a small paved plaza with a fountain in the center, which was originally the Cathedral atrium.

Behind St. Theodore on the far west of the site, the ruins of three Byzantine churches are grouped together around a shared atrium. The northernmost is the Church of St. Cosmos and St. Damian, dedicated to twin brother doctors who were martyred in the 4th century (they have a fine church in Rome as well). This church has the most splendid floor mosaics to be seen in Jerash. An inscription dates the mosaic to 553 AD. The images include the churchwarden Theodore and his wife Georgia praying with widespread arms.

The middle of the three churches is that of St. John the Baptist, dating from 531 AD. Its mosaic floor, now damaged, included images of the four seasons, plants and animals, and the cities of Alexandria and Memphis in Egypt. The church of St. George, the southernmost, was built in 530 AD. It continued to be used after the earthquake of 749 AD, and its mosaics were destroyed when the 8th century Christian iconoclastic movement banned the representation of humans and animals.

Back on the Cardo, just north of the Cathedral is a large nymphaeum, or monumental fountain. It was constructed in 191 AD and was faced with marble. Next is the Propylaeum or gateway that led to the sacred precinct of the Temple of Artemis (150 AD), which occupies a large site to the left of the Cardo. A monumental staircase, which once had high walls, leads up to a horseshoe-shaped terrace with the foundations of an open-air altar. A second staircase leads through a colonnade of 22 Corinthian columns and into the Temenos (sacred precinct), which measures 162 x 121 m and had Corinthian columns on all sides.

In the 6th century, a Byzantine church (the "Propylaeum Church") was built opposite the Propylaeum on the site of a courtyard that formed part of the processional way to the Temple of Artemis. The courtyard's columns were incorporated into the church.

Past the Temple of Artemis and left of the Cardo is a small theater or Odeon, built in 165 AD and doubled to its present size in 235 AD. West of the Odeon is the Church of the Bishop Isaiah, built in 559 and used until the earthquake of 749. Here the Cardo intersects with the North Decumanus, which is marked by the North Tetrapylon. In the 2nd century this probably had a domed roof and elaborate carved decoration.

Jerash, Jordan

Jerash, 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. To this day, its paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theaters, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates remain in exceptional condition.

This fascinating city makes a great day-trip from Amman, particularly in spring, when the wildflowers are in bloom. The drive will take you less than an hour, but will transport you 2000 years back in time.

Within the remaining city walls, archeologists 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. Jerash 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.

The history of Jerash is a blend of the Greco-Roman world of the Mediterranean basin and the ancient traditions of the Arab Orient. Indeed, the name of the city itself reflects this interaction. The earliest Arabic/Semitic inhabitants named their village Garshu. The Romans later Hellenised the former Arabic name into Gerasa, and at the end of the 19th century, the Arab and Circassian inhabitants of the small rural settlement transformed the Roman Gerasa into the Arabic Jerash.

It was not until the days of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC that Jerash truly began to develop into a sizeable town. But it was during the period of Roman rule that Jerash, then known as Gerasa, enjoyed its golden age.

The first known historical reference to Jerash dates back to the 2nd or early 1st century BC. This reference is attributed to Josephus, a historian from the Holy Land, who referred to it as the the place to which Theodorus, the tyrant of Philadelphia, removed his treasure for safe keeping in the Temple of Zeus. Shortly afterward, Theodorus lost Jerash to Alexander Jannceus, a religious priest.

Soon after Rome took control of Syria, Emperor Pompey, in 63 BC, named conquered Jerash as one of the great cities of the Decapolis League. This brought great economic benefits to Jerash and trade flourished with the Nabataean Empire based in Petra.

In 106 AD, Emperor Trajan annexed the wealthy Nabataean Kingdom and formed the province of Arabia. This brought even greater trading riches pouring into Jerash, which enjoyed a burst of construction activity. Granite was brought from as far away as Egypt, and old temples were rebuilt according to the latest architectural fashion.

The city received yet another boost in stature with the visit of Emperor Hadrian in 129 AD. To honor its guest, the citizens raised a monumental Triumphal Arch at the southern end of the city. Jerash's prosperity reached a peak in the beginning of the 3rd century, when it was bestowed with the rank of Roman Colony. During this "golden age", Jerash may have had a population of 20,000 people.

The ancient city preserved today was the administrative, civic, commercial and cultural center of this community, while the majority of the city's citizens lived on the east side of Jerash Valley.

As the 3rd century progressed, shipping began to take over as the main route for commerce. Jerash fell into decline as its previously lucrative trade routes became less traveled and therefore less valuable.

By the middle of the 5th century, Christianity had become the major religion of the region and numerous churches were constructed in Jerash. Many churches were constructed of stones taken from pagan temples - and the remains of several can be seen today.

Jerash was hit further by the Persian invasion of 614 AD and the Muslim conquest of 636 AD. A series of earthquakes in 749 AD did serious damage to the city and hastened its decline, and its population sank to 4000.

The Crusaders described Jerash as uninhabited, and it remained abandoned until its rediscovery in 1806, when Ulrich Jasper Seetzen, a German traveler, came across and recognized a small part of the ruins. The ancient city was buried in sand, which accounts for its remarkable preservation. It has been gradually revealed through a series of excavations, which started in 1925, and continue to this day.

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