2017-10-05 Al Qasr Metropole Hotel, Amman, Jordan

Our first day in Jordan ………looking over the capital city, Amman from our hotel room
Amman, in Greco-Roman times was know as Philadelphia and today it has become a modern city with a population of approximately 4 million people
We were collected from the hotel this morning by our personal tour driver while in Jordan, called Sammie. We start our first day of sightseeing by driving to the ancient city of Jerash, which is situated approximately 54 kms by road north of Amman
As we head out of Amman we pass hundreds of identical looking apartment blocks lined up on the arid hills on either side of the highway
On our journey north, travelling up Route 30 then Route 35 to Jerash, for the first time we see the tents of the Bedouins, who are Jordan’s desert-dwelling nomads
On our trip the terrain we pass is quite hilly and dry in areas however there are numerous pockets of cultivation
It is not long before we near our destination
In the distance we see the ancient site of Jerash
On our arrival at the ancient site of Jerash we visit a cafe by the site and then we are escorted through the shopping area before going to the actual official entrance
Our first impression of the ancient site of Jerash is how well preserved the standing structures were…….here we see one end of the large Hippodrome
The second major structure we see and walk through is the Arch of Hadrian which was built to honour its guest, Emperor Hadrian who came to visit Jerash in 129AD
Mohammed, our guide was waiting for us on our arrival at the South Gate which is the official entrance to the site….we pass the 1st century AD Temple of Zeus on our way to the Oval Plaza
Our first stop is to see the amazing Oval Plaza which is also known as the Forum
The Oval Plaza in fact was an unusual construction in the classical world because it was not symmetrical……..it joins the Temple of Zeus to the Cardo, or street of columns
We next visit the South Theatre which dates back to 90-92 AD and seats about 3000 people
The South Theatre is in amazing condition and when constructed it was made to minimise the amount of sun that may fall on spectators
It is hard to escape the local talent who love being in photos !! For tips of course!!
To this day the theater is still used for concerts and other cultural events and the acoustics are still quite outstanding
Looking across to see Ric high up on the opposite side of the theater
Great views looking towards the Oval Plaza and with the city of Jerash in the background
A quite an extraordinary sight was to see a whirlwind spinning around amongst the old ruins
Looking back to the beautifully preserved Oval Plaza
……and the Temple of Zeus
We continue uphill towards the other areas of the ancient site and also see areas that had not been excavated to date
Rows of pillars leading down to the Cardo Maximus, the main long Roman road of the site
Incredible mosaics can still be seen where churches once stood before being leveled during earthquakes in the 7th and 8th Centuries
One of the most impressive temples of the site, with its 12 pillars still standing, is the Temple of Artemis which was built between 150 and 179 AD. Larger than the Temple of Zeus it is thought to be one of the most outstanding temples in any Provincial Roman city
From the Temple of Artemis the Monumental Staircase leads down to the Cardo Maximus

Cardo Maximus the 800 m long main road of ancient Jerash

The Nymphaeum Temple was the main ornamental fountain of ancient Jerash which was dedicated to the water nymphs. A basin still stands on the side walk in front of the well preserved building

As we continue our walking tour along Cardo Maximus towards the Oval Plaza we clearly can see the wheel ruts from ancient Roman chariots
Looking back along the main road of the ancient town
Next we visit the Agora situated on the western side of Cardo Maximus. It is here where people in ancient times gathered for public meetings around the central fountain
Plenty of tourists here at the site today
We finally arrive back at the Oval Plaza and admire the incredible spacious area surrounded by 56 columns
Our final visit at the site is to the Hippodrome which is a massive arena that is 245 m long and 52 m wide. It could seat 15,000 spectators at a time for chariot races and other sports
We leave the ancient site through the same way as we came in, via the Arch of Hadrian
We leave Jerash and our driver Sammie takes us back to Amman
We arrive back in the busy city of Amman and continue with a sightseeing tour of the city
We start the tour with another private tour guide at the Amman Citadel which is a historical site in the center of downtown Amman
From the elevated site we have a wonderful view over the densely populated city
Amman’s Roman Theatre is a 6,000 seat, 2nd-century Roman theatre which is a famous landmark in the Jordanian capital which dates back to the Roman period when the city was known as Philadelphia

The Umayyad Mosque which is situated at the Citadel of Amman was constructed in the Medieval period, when the city was ruled by Muslim rulers
Temple of Hercules is thought to be the most significant Roman structure in the Amman Citadel and was built when Geminius Marcianus was governor of the Province of Arabia (AD 162-166)
The late afternoon traffic is starting to build up in the city as we return to the car
We make our way back to the hotel
Once Sammie dropped us back to the hotel we consider whether we should try the Chinese restaurant that we overlook from our room
This evening we made a choice to have dinner in the restaurant in the hotel
We order a nice bottle of red wine from Jordan
As an entree we start with some delicious sushi to share
Both of us order a perfectly cooked steak with vegetables for our main course
We decide to try a selection of desserts which were delightful
City lights of Amman

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