Oval Plaza: Jerash, Jordan

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Oval Plaza Jerash from Temple of Jupiter

Jerash is often referred to as ‘The Pompeii of the East’. I’ve now had the good fortune of having visited Pompeii as well as Jerash. Pompeii was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE and the nature of its destruction meant that it preserved things such as wall art and mosaics and other things that are normally not found in other sites. Pompeii is spectacular but comparing Jerash to Pompeii is unfair. Jerash is probably the most magnificent Roman city I have visited so far. To think that a site as magnificent as Jerash is not listed as a UNESCO heritage monument is certainly intriguing to me.

I think the most unique feature of the city (and most recognisable) is the Oval Plaza. It is said that the plaza was built to connect the main road of the city (The Cardo) to the temple of Jupiter. The temple was not aligned to the road and you can trust the Romans to come up with an innovative and spectacular solution to the problem. The plaza is surrounded by a series of Ionic columns built in the 2nd Century CE.

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The Ionic Roman Columns at the Oval Plaza, Jerash

At street level it is impossible to capture the entirety of the Plaza (unless you have a super wide angle lens)- the temple of Jupiter offers one of the best vantage points for capturing the entire plaza.

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Column in the Oval Plaza- probably one of the four over which a statue of Emperor Hadrian was raised
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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Nirmala says:

    Hope it becomes a UNESCO heritage project soon. will help preservation.

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Hope so too! I think it deserves it!

  2. It indeed is beautiful. I have visited the place and your post brought back the memorable time I had at Jerash.

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      That’s great- I’m happy it brought back happy memories.

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thanks!

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