Jerash: One of the Largest Roman Ruins Outside Italy

Located in Jordan, Jerash is home to some of the most well-preserved and largest Roman ruins in the world. Before the Romans came, Jerash belonged to Alexander the Great who in fact founded the city according to some historical sources. Although Macedonia moved on, Hellenistic influence continued in the city for centuries. However, the Romans conquered the city in 63 BCE as a part of their campaign in the Middle East. Consequently, Jerash became one of the Decapolis which were the 10 Hellenistic cities the Romans considered as their frontier.


Under Roman rule, Jerash greatly flourished. As Rome guaranteed the safety of the citizens and the city, art, culture, architecture, and science developed. It soon became the symbol of Roman power, security, and prosperity in the region.

Jerash ruins

Despite being far away from Italy, Rome never took its eyes off the city. Multiple emperors visited the city and built monuments of their own both for the glory of the empire and the convenience of the citizens. One example is Emperor Trajan who constructed roads in and out of the city which are still in use today.

Jerash stairs

However, the biggest contribution from an emperor to Jerash is arguably Hadrian’s Arch or the Triumphal Arch. In 129 CE, more than 60 years after the conquering of the region, Emperor Hadrian visited the city. As a celebration of his visit, the Romans built the monument near the city gates. Originally, Hadrian’s Arch stood at an impressive 22 meters but as time passed it lost some of its height.

Jerash columns

In addition to Hadrian’s Arch, the city is famous for the Oval Plaza and Cardo Maximus. The plaza is surrounded by Ionic columns and serves as the connector between the two axes of the city.

Jerash columns and arch

Today, Jerash is still one of the most popular and important Roman ruins. Since 1981, the city has been home to the annual Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts. The festival lasts for 3 weeks and consists of artistic and cultural performances. The royal family of Jordan regularly attends the festival as well, another testament to the importance of Jerash and its Roman heritage.

Jerash and jordan
Jerash stones
ancient ruman arch in jordan
ancient ruman columns in jordan
ancient ruman ground in jordan