Wednesday evening we went to Jerash, an hour or so north of Amman, to see more ruins. I'll admit that I was getting a little ruin-ed out at that point, and wasn't particularly looking forward to it. Not that I haven't enjoyed all the sites we've been to, but after that many ruins in that short of time things start to run together.
Upon arriving at Jersash, however, I found that I was in for a big surprise. The ruins there were absolutely incredible. We were there for two hours, but I would have gladly stayed there all night, and then come back again the next day. It was like a giant playground for big kids. It was by far the largest set of Roman ruins we've seen yet--every new corner we turned I realized how much farther the structures spread out. I talked to a guy here who has been to Rome, and he said that he thought these ruins were even cooler than those there (save for the Colosseum, of course).
We started out at Hadrian's gate, south of the city. At the time this city would have been built, it was common procedure to build a wall around the city for increased defensibility. Thus, there would have been four gates into the city, like this one. Here in Jerusalem we have to go through gates to get into the Old City, which is walled as well. Though back in the day the gates would have looked like this, the one's here are now small corridors lined with various shops. It was neat to get an idea of what our temporary home would have looked like in its prime.
|Standing in front of Hadrian's gate|
We then moved into the city, and came to the hippodrome, or arena. Here they would have held most of their outdoor events, including, most likely, jousting! I was reminded so much of A Knight's Tale, and took incredibly too many pictures accordingly. It looked just like in the movie, sans the Heath Ledger.
|Can't you just imagine horses speeding down the length of this?|
Entering the city proper, we were greeted by rows and rows of columns, a sight we've now become fairly well acquainted with. These were by far the best preserved we've seen yet though. And, as you can see by the picture below, they were everywhere.
|Too many pillars to count...|
|Even more columns. I tell you, they were everywhere.|
|This picture adequately captures the dwarfing.|
|me + columns = half of my pictures.|
|You can see Hadrian's gate far in the distance, and a theater to the right (stage left) of the picture. As well as many many columns.|
|A sweet shadow shot of Me, Sarah, and Becca. And - more columns!|
|Standing in the theater. The man behind me on the left wearing the red keffiyeh was one of the bagpipe players|
Jerash was, most sincerely, one of my favorite places that I've ever visited. I never wanted to leave. The temperature had been perfect the whole time we were there, and as the sun was slowly setting it basked everything in a warm evening glow. I was also lucky enough to explore the whole place with some great new friends.
Jerash is a magical place. My imagination was running wild the whole time I was there picturing what the city must have looked like in its prime. What the horses would have sounded like trotting down the cobble stone road. What a Sophocles play would have looked like being performed in the theater. How crowded it must have been going through Hadrian's gate at midday. Or even how the columns would have looked when they were connected to things. Not that I have anything against columns...