I highly rate this impressive, beautiful site in Jordan. Nobody who visits Jordan should miss Jerash. I was surprised at just how well preserved the old Roman town was. I visited as a day trip from Jerusalem, which is quite easy and possible- either by hiring a taxi or by bus via Amman- despite a few annoyingly slow border controls.
Jerash was surprisingly, pleasantly free of the tourist hoardes. There is a relatively low admission price. You can pay a guide if you wish- official guides are available outside but a number of teenagers can be found inside offering to sell postcards, take photos for you, give you information about the ruins etc. I found them polite and not too much hassle. You’ll need at least an hour to see everything, even if you rush around, as the ruins are very expansive. Ideally you would want a half day to really appreciate everything here. There are many points of interest- don’t miss the rocking Roman columns (the movement is demonstrated by pushing the column, with a coin wedged at the base- it’s amazing). I enjoyed meeting the friendly, colourfully attired bagpipe player who appeared around midday in the amphitheatre and that was the best photo opportunity of the day!
During Ramadan in August the whole of Jordan seemed very quiet, almost eerily so during the day, so I can’t comment on the modern town of Jerash that sits next to the historical site, but there was a well-stocked tourist café within the grounds and a more traditional restaurant just outside where the car park is. Going out of the ruins you have the opportunity to buy souvenirs from one of the little bazaars. I doubt they’re the cheapest option if you’re in Jordan for a few days but I got a high quality traditional red and white Bedouin headdress for only £4 and the seller didn’t pressurise me to buy more. Do make time to visit the small underground museum (no additional charge)- it’s not very big but it’s presented with some style, well lit within a tunnel. Inside you can see exhibited some of the finer pieces from the columns, and vibrantly painted original stonework. My first trip to Jordan and hopefully not my last!
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