9 must-see things to do in Jerash

visiter Jerash

To visit Jerash is to discover Jordan in a different way! Often overlooked by tourists, this ancient Roman city has a lot to offer!

Located in the heart of Jordan, on the banks of the Oued Jérash, nicknamed the « River of Gold », Jérash is a city that deserves to be visited. Admittedly less well-known thanAmman, Zarqa and Irbid, the ancient Roman city of the Decapolis is nevertheless a booming tourist destination! To visit Jerash is to discover dazzling ruins, immense colonnades and numerous Roman remains, but that’s not all!

In addition to its historic side, Jerash is also a modern city with magnificent markets and a grand mosque. To discover the 9 must-see things to do in Jerash, follow the guide!

1. The temple of Artemis

Temple Artémis visiter Jerash

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Hamdan Yoshida

A visit to Jerash without a visit to the Temple of Artemis would be a huge oversight! Built in 150 AD by the Romans in homage to the goddess of hunting and fertility, this religious edifice is still accessible today.

As the protector of Gerasa (the ancient Roman city), this monument shows the inhabitants’ infatuation with divine beliefs.

At the time, it was the center of the city’s social and spiritual life. In this vast sacred precinct, numerous sacrifices were performed in honor of Zeus’ daughter! Today, it’s a masterfully preserved tourist monument (11 of its 12 Corinthian columns are still standing).

2. Place Ovale

Place Ovale visiter Jerash

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Dan Rata

The iconic Oval Square or Forum is the symbol of the ancient city. Arguably one of the finest achievements of Roman architecture, the Oval Square is a must-see in Jerash!

A visit to Jerash is like stepping back in time, as this square dates back to the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. A junction between the Cardo Maximus and the Temple of Zeus, this agora with its cobblestone floor is an impressive 90 x 80 meters!

Anecdote: every year, the flame of the Jerash festival is lit on the pedestal in the center of Oval Square.

3. The Cardo maximus

Cardo Maximus visiter jerash

Photo credit: Shutterstock – volkova natalia

Also known as the « Alley of Columns », the Cardo maximus is a must-see in Jerash! 800 meters long and lined with 200 Corinthian and Ionic columns (at the time, 500 columns), it stretches between North Gate and the forum.

What’s more, as the main artery of the ancient city, this alley serves numerous monuments – in ruins or under restoration – such as the public fountain, the temple of Artemis, the Umayyad mosque and the thermal baths. A visit to Jerash is like stepping back in time and imagining life in Roman times.

4. Jerash racecourse

Hippodrome visiter Jerash

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Artem Tkachuk

Impressive in its dimensions, the Jerash racecourse was 245 metres long and 51 metres wide, and could hold up to 15,000 spectators.

Partly restored, the racecourse has now returned to its original functions, once again hosting chariot races and gladiatorial battles.

It would be a real shame to visit Jerash without discovering this emblematic place of entertainment, as it is a place steeped in history.

5. The Archaeological Museum and Amman

Amman

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Konstantin Yolshin

A real treat for archaeology enthusiasts and history buffs, Jerash is packed with historic sites, Roman monuments and conservation areas. Among this multitude of propositions, the archaeological museum is a must-see in Jerash!

Although small in size, it nevertheless houses a number of archaeological nuggets. Inside, you’ll find a collection of everyday objects such as pottery, coins, statues, mosaics and jewelry.

Although visiting Jerash is a great way to discover relics of the past, we strongly advise you to go to Amman, which is home to most of these archaeological excavations.

6. The doors

Arche d'Hadrien visiter Jerash

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Hamdan Yoshida

As an ancient city, Jerash is no exception to the rule, containing several gates that were once the entrances to the main thoroughfares. Major monuments and historical relics, the gates are a must-see in Jerash!

  • The North Gate: located at the end of the Cardo maximus, it marks the city’s main entrance to the north. In homage to the city’s founder,Emperor Trajan, it was built in 115 CE, and naturally stands in opposition to the South Gate;
  • The South Gate: often referred to as the « Southern Gate of Jerash », it is more recent than the North Gate. Dating from the 2nd century, it provides direct access to the Oval Square;
  • Hadrian’s Arch: this is the main entrance to the remains of the city of Jerash. In short, to visit Jerash, you have to pass in front of it. Impressive in its dimensions (37 metres wide by 13 metres high), it leaves no one indifferent! Erected in honor of the emperor of the same name, this arch allows you to enter directly onto the Cardo maximus.

7. Theaters

Théâtre Jeresh

Photo credit: Shutterstock – volkova natalia

In Roman times, theater was a very pleasant distraction for the locals, so visiting Jerash and discovering the theaters is an excellent idea.

  • The North Theater: built in 165 by Emperor Marcus Aurelius, it accommodates just 14 rows of seats. Remarkably well restored, it’s a must-see in Jerash;
  • The Southern Theater: built in 90 AD, during the reign of Emperor Domitian, it is slightly larger than the Northern Theater and seats 5,000 people. Fully restored, it is once again used as a stage, notably for the Jerash Festival. Why not try not to go on stage?

8. Local gastronomy

Kebab

Delicious and original, Jordanian gastronomy is largely influenced by Egyptian, Lebanese and Turkish cuisine. A visit to Jerash also means discovering the local gastronomy.

  • The kebab: if there’s one place where you’ve got to have a kebab, it’s here! Visiting Jerash with a kebab in hand is part of local custom.
  • Mensaf: less well known than kebab, this is nevertheless Jordan’s festive dish. Inherited from the Bedouins, mensaf is a kind of stew made with rice, pine nuts, lamb and goat sauce. It may seem a little strange to Westerners at first, but in the end it’s a real treat for the taste buds!
  • Chai: Jordan’s national drink! Quite simply, it’s a traditional tea with a high sugar content, sometimes with added miramiye (sage). Slightly bitter, but delicious!

9. Going further

Amman

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Georgios Tsichlis

  • Amman: a typical example of a Middle Eastern city, Amman welcomes you in complete privacy to discover its wonders from another era. Ruins, staircases, balconies, relics, citadel and ancient theater face a vast modern urban area. A city of contrasts and paradoxes, Amman is nonetheless one of Jordan’s jewels;
  • The Jordan Valley: stretching from the Hermon mountains in Lebanon to the Dead Sea, the valley is a richly cultivated area and home to many of the ancient cities of the Decapolis;
  • Dibbin National Park: this magnificent Jordanian nature reserve lies to the south of Jerash. As a protected area, it is home to the world’s largest Aleppo pines.

How do I get to Jerash?

Even if you have the option of driving to Jordan in your own vehicle, it’s much quicker and more pleasant to fly. If you choose this option, use a flight comparator like Skyscanner to find the best deal. The platform will show you the best solution, according to your criteria.

  • From Paris: from Charles de Gaulle airport, allow 4h35 for a non-stop flight to Amman. Ticket prices range from €80 to €500, depending on the period and options chosen.
  • From Nice: the flight from Nice to Amman includes a stopover in Tunisia, so the journey takes 6 hours 45 minutes. Ticket prices range from €250 to €600, depending on the period and options chosen.

Once you arrive at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport, 80 km from Jerash, you have several options:

  • Car rental: simple, fast and convenient, you get the keys to your vehicle straight from the airport. After a few explanations and a complete vehicle check-up, it’s just1h30 to your destination;
  • The bus: both practical and economical, a bus will take you to Jerash for €6 in 1 hour. However, make sure you don’t miss this shuttle, otherwise you’ll have to wait 1 hour;
  • Cab: although this is the most expensive option, it’s also the nicest, because you don’t have to worry about a thing! In 45 minutes, a cab will take you to Jerash for around €65 (prices vary between €50 and €75).

Where to stay in Jerash?

Choosing the right accommodation in Jerash is essential to making the most of your stay in this beautiful Jordanian city. So where to stay in Jerash? To help you plan your trip, Generation Voyage provides you with a few tips!

Jerash is still a little-known destination for tourists, so it’s not very expensive, and that’s good for you! In fact, overnight stays rarely exceed €50 for an Airbnb and €60 for a hotel. Small and picturesque, the city has few accommodations, so your search will be quick and efficient!

At Generation Voyage, we’ve fallen in love with this charming, authentic Airbnb located on an organic farm! However, if you prefer to stay in a hotel, use a hotel comparator to help you target the right offer for your needs.

So what are you waiting for to visit Jerash?

Map of hotels and accommodation – Jerash