Situated in the north of Jordan, towards the Syrian border, Jerash is the capital and largest city of the Jerash Govornate, and its varied geographical surroundings at a range of altitudes from cold mountains to fertile valleys make for stunning scenery and verdant wildlife. Previously buried under earthquakes, wars and turmoil, this ancient town has been gradually restored to life over the last 80 years and is now considered one of the most important and best preserved Roman cities in the near east.
The ancient city is home to grand colonnaded streets, hilltop temples and theatres, public baths and plazas and towering city walls. With a variety of monuments in the city donated by various inhabitants since AD350 you can easily while away hour upon hour visiting one of the numerous churches with superb mosaic floors, or amble further afield to the hilly wooded groves and secluded trails this expansive plain has to offer.
Agriculture is an important part of the cultural landscape here, alongside tourism, and with over 1.25m olive trees you’ll have to watch where you walk. The rolling hills of northern Jordan have some of the most picturesque countryside in the middle east – huge swathes of olive and fig trees, ancient pine forests and crop fields interspersed with cultivated valleys line the way west down to the deep Jordan Valley, and unsurprisingly, it’s the most densely populated part of the country. Being so perfectly situated it’s easy to comprehend why human occupation in the area has been almost continuous for the last 6500 years, and you might find yourself dreaming of Cleopatra and wanting to stay.
Image by David Degner