Day 044 Jordan : Jerash

It's official.  We're in love.......with Jordan.  What an amazing country this is turning out to be.  The people are incredible: helpful, generous, hospitable and happy.  Do yourself a huge favour and add this onto your bucket list of places to visit.

I'm running out of adjectives to describe Jerash.  Suffice it to say, it's unmissable.  We began by visiting the Roman baths.  There's a gate locked against unwanted visitors as its not open as a monument but in we went.  The most incredible thing is that they are still in use by the residents of Jerash today although only when there's plenty of water about in winter. 

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The swimming pool almost as big as a modern olympic pool.  The winter water is fed through a sluice gate into town during summer This is the "jacuzzi" part of the pool The amphitheatre above the pool with the chairs almost intact The "sauna" part of the pools, enclosed.  The discs are clearly visible and were used for heating.  The channels in the walls for water to create the steam


Then it was off to the Roman City.  Entering by Hadrian's Arch a_SG101917 is incredible enough but walking around the site you are struck by how ancient it all is and that once soldiers, gladiators, shopkeepers and ordinary people like you and I walked the same routes.  The stones used for the streets are a bit uneven now but the well-worn ruts from the chariots are clearly visible and the shine and rounded edges evidence of millions of feet having polished them as they passed over them.  

We entered through the South Gate a_SG101929and walked down the main street a_SG101932, into the centre a_SG101931  and marvelled at the columns and detail a_SG101920all around and clearly visible even though 2000 years had passed. 

Whilst we were standing at the Nymphaeum a_SG101936 , we overheard an American group passing by describing it "as the place dedicated to the nymphos".  I think, not folks, dedicated to the Water Nymphs more like it!!!!  The mind boggles at how a nympho might use a fountain..???  We hung back whilst the group went on ahead and climbed the stairs leading to the Temple of Artemis.  The steps are built in blocks of 7 and there are 7 blocks ie 49 stairs.  This was considered to have special significance for the gods a_SG101938 .  Looking back once you've climbed the stairs, the engineering has been so precise that all you see are 7 platforms and no stairs - wow.

As we meandered above the main street with the city below us a_SG101942, the faint strains of bagpipes and drums could be heard floating down the hill from the amphitheatre a_SG101946.  Amazing Grace and Mull of Kintyre drew us closer.  As we approached the sound amplified until we could hear a full pipe band in action.  We thought that someone obviously loved pipe music and was blasting it out though some serious speakers, only to be greeted by a 3 piece Arabian band playing, yes, bagpipes and drums a_SG101943 .  The amphitheatre was built so precisely (as they all were) that the sound was amplified perfectly without distortion.  Until the same American group appeared again and asked the band to stop playing so that a couple could sing some unknown soppy tune to each other that no-one else was interested in.  Get a grip, guys!!  We waited again whilst they had gone and sat in the amphitheatre listening to the band before we left to get some lunch.  If you decide to visit allow at least 3 hours for the walk around.

Lunch was at the Green Valley Restaurant - expensive but really tasty.  Then left to go back to the hotel for a swim, a sleep and to spend some time marvelling over the sights we'd seen.