Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jerash – part III – Hanging out at the Forum

And finally, the last of this bunch of photos from Jerash - “this bunch” meaning, I know we’ll go back and take more bunches! 

As of our last post, we had made our way to the Temple of Zeus where we wandered and explored some of the nooks, crannies, holes, etc… of the Temple and courtyard. Actually, the kids did a bunch of exploring; I was trying to make sure the little ones didn’t put hands down into things where there might be bite-y critters, but I managed to snap some good photos too.

For scale on this shot – look for the people in the photo:


After the temple, we wandered up to the South Theatre, which has been restored quite a bit, and is absolutely beautiful. We found our way in by following the sounds of the bagpipes!


Our trusty guide book (Jerash, by Prof. Dr. Safwan Kh. Tell, ISBN: 88-8029-727-9; a nice book we picked up at the info building for 5JD) states that this theatre is considered to be one of the best of its kind in the Middle East. The theatre could seat about 3000 people, and was filled with lovely carvings and decoration. Apparently the seats are labeled in alphabetical order, I didn’t notice that on this visit, and will have to look closer next time.


A view from the stands. A quote from the book: “Before Hadrian's visit to Jerash the city had received honours from the Emperor Trajan who brought the city into the vortex of provincial affairs when it attracted visitors from all parts of the Empire. The theatre was an important centre for entertainments and festivals and also received visiting artists, celebrities, and popular heroes.”


A close up of pillars at the front of the theatre.


This was half of a rather faded carving that I found on the wall, beneath the stage, near the right side stairs up to the stage. The other half was a mirror image.


After the theatre, we wandered out and up a hill to the south. This is a view overlooking the Cardo, or Colonnaded Street. We have not fully explored this area yet, but it makes for a striking visual experience from afar.


Looking back north at the temple on the hill, forum to the left.


Old city – New city


A view of the forum, where the earliest buildings in the city were probably located. It is 90 meters by 80 meters. This is the earliest forum of its kind built by the Romans, probably in the early decades of the first century AD. It was a commercial center, with shops located around the forum, behind the columns, facing in, but these structures no longer exist.


Another view, from the hill, towards the temple of Zeus.


A view of areas we have yet to explore. We had tired kids and couldn’t make it out that far in one day.


Back down toward the forum and the temple. I love the image of all these blocks set out on the ground. They remind me of giant legos that some god-child left out after play.


And here are my adventurers, standing in the center of the forum with the the Cardo in the background. Another time, we will wander down this ancient street and see what else there is to see, but on this visit, the forum was our turn-around place.


Another lovely, random, rock carving.


Waiting by the South Gate.


Before we left the site, we stopped at the Rest House and Restaurant on the other side of this gate for lunch. They had a very nice mezze, which we sampled and enjoyed, and a grill, which we’ll have to try next time. The kids loved the fresh baked bread, and Honor took this great photo of the baker at work.



Tanya said...

Incredible photos. The restoration is amazing. Isn't it great to know you can take your time and don't have to look at everything all at once....because you can always come back another day!

Connie said...

Hi Tanya - oh yes! Slow and meandering was the perfect way to go! It was an amazing experience to see the site, and it was also a very relaxing day in the country with family and friends - what a combo!

Lydia said...

Ah, I loved Jerash. That is the beauty of living near such wonderful stuff -- you don't have to make a marathon out of it! Go for a while, come back another week. And with it so close to home, yeah, it's great!

Veronica said...

They really went for BIG when they were building didn't they? And amazing carving ... imagine the time taken ...WOW!

Tina in CT said...

Would you answer some questions in an upcoming post?

1. What is the temperature like there?

2. Is there any grass around as I didn't see any?

What history and so fascinating. Thank you for sharing such wonderful pictures.

I also would be leery of creepy crawlers hiding beneath rocks.