Saturday, September 29, 2012

Whispering Columns of Jerash

We hired a driver from Amman to take us to the provinical Roman city of Jerash, 48 kilometers away.  Sometimes it's nice to relax and let someone else do the driving.  Although we couldn't stop at every fruit and vegetable stand nor shop at the roadside tables piled high with pottery, we enjoyed the rolling fields of agriculture (and saved some money!).

We spent two hours walking through this magnificent site.  Columns upon columns upon columns line the ancient streets.  It is said that they could carry a whisper from one end of the forum to the other.  It's easy to imagine how splendid Jerash must have been during the first and second centuries.  Ah, the wealth that poured in!  And the secrets that could not be kept!
Wealth poured into the city from agriculture and iron mines.  A flourishing trade was also going on with the Nabataeans and later, with the entire Roman province when roads connected the cities throughout the region.

The city continued to prosper under Emperior Trajan.  Temples and monuments were built and the magnificent Corinthean columns that remain today, replaced the older Ionic ones.  Like many Roman cities, however, it was soon abandoned after the Crusades.  Jerash was not rediscovered until the 1800's.  Today, it is second only to Petra as Jordan's most popular tourist site.

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