Jerash or Gerasa is located in the North of Amman, 45-minute drive to reach the best-preserved example of Roman civilization.
Being the second highest density city in Jordan, with its' ethnically diverse population, where the majority being Arabs, Circassians and Armenians also exist in a slightly larger percentage compared to other cities in Jordan.
The majority of Jerash population is Muslims; however the percentage of Christians (Orthodox and Catholics) in Jerash city is also among the highest in Jordan.
The city has developed dramatically in the last century due to its strategic location in the heart of Jordan and the growing importance of the tourism industry to the city. It is now the second-most popular tourist attraction in Jordan, closely behind the splendid ruins of Petra.
The ruins have been carefully preserved and spared from encroachment, with the modern city sprawling to the west of ancient Jerash's city walls. Jerash, part of the Decapolis (the ten big Roman cities of the East) has been called the Pompeii of the East for its unique state of preservation. Considered one of the most important and best preserved Roman cities in the Near East, featuring theatres, churches, temples (Zeus and Artemis), a Nymphaeum and colonnaded streets.
Recent excavations show that Jerash was already inhabited during the Bronze Age. After the Roman conquest in 63 BC, Jerash and the land surrounding it were annexed by the Roman Province of Syria, and later joined the Decapolis cities.
In AD 90, Jerash was absorbed into the Roman province of Arabia, which included the city of Philadelphia "Amman". The Romans ensured security and peace in this area, which enabled its people to devote their efforts and time to economic development and encouraged civic building activity.
In the second half of the first century AD, the city achieved great prosperity. Later in AD 106, the Emperor Trajan constructed roads throughout the provinces and more trade came to Jerash.
The triumphal arch "Arch of Hadrian" was built to celebrate the visit of The Emperor Hadrian to the city, A remarkable Latin inscription records a religious dedication set up by members of the imperial mounted bodyguard "wintering" there.
The Persian invasion in 614 AD caused a rapid decline of Jerash. However, the city continued to flourish during the Umayyad Period, as shown by recent excavations.
In 749 AD, a major earthquake destroyed much of Jerash and its surroundings.
During the period of the Crusades, some of the monuments were converted to fortresses, including the Temple of Artemis. Small settlements continued in Jerash during the Ayyubid, Mameluk and Ottoman periods. Excavation and restoration of Jerash has been almost continuous since the 1920s.
There are a large number of striking monuments located in Jerash such as the Corinthian column, Hadrian's Arch, a circus/hippodrome, two immense temples "Zeus" & "Artemis", the nearly unique oval Forum, surrounded by a fine colonnade, a long colonnaded street, two theatres, two baths, a scattering of small temples and an almost complete circuit of city walls. Most of these monuments were built by donations of the city's wealthy citizens.