The Most Beautifully Preserved Greek-Roman City Is Where?

I studied ancient history in grade 10. It was then that I decided to name my future daughterJerash, Jordan Athena. I didn’t know that I would have a daughter or if I would even have a child, but I knew if I did, that would be her name. The Greeks and Romans had the most fascinating history. I loved learning everything that I could soak in. It was in grade 10 history class that I also learned about the city of Jerash, the Cross Roads of Civilization, remarkable for its unbroken chain of human occupation. Here, in the hills of Gilead, you will find the remains from Neolithic times, as well as Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Omayyad civilizations. You can see a live performance of the Roman Army and Chariot Experience (RACE) at the hippodrome. I always assumed that I would visit Rome and Greece to experience history first-hand, which I did, but Jordan, specifically Jerash, seemed more like a dream that would always remain on the list… until today.

As we approached the South Gate, others snapped photos, asked questions, and walked around. I stood in awe. I could see the gates of the hippodrome.

Jerash, Jordan

Although we didn’t get to experience a live performance of the RACE, it unfolded before myJerash, Jordan eyes as if it was really happening. Close your eyes and envision it with me…

We are sitting, standing, yelling, and cheering from our stone seats next to the 10 starting gates.

Julius Caesar shouts, “Silencium!”

Jerash, Jordan

A mixture of dust and seven thunderous laps blur the red, white, blue, and green armour-clad legionnaires and horse-drawn chariots; they are only drowned out by the bellowing cheers from the crowd, including us.

Jerash, JordanThey approach the line on the final lap and there is so much dust it’s difficult to tell who is in the lead; it’s too close. There are no play-backs. There are no video cameras to catch it up close. You have to keep your eyes wide open despite the dust. YES! YES! YES! We’ve won!

Before football, soccer, or basketball, we had the Roman Army and Chariot Experience at the hippodrome.

In Jerash, another one of my bucket list dreams came true. If you dream it and envision it, you can make it a reality!

41 thoughts on “The Most Beautifully Preserved Greek-Roman City Is Where?

  1. I, for one, think that Athena is a perfect name. I may be a little prejudiced, since it is my own name… Last year, I was able to go to the ancient site of Priene(among others), which is outside the Turkish resort town of Karaisali on the Eastern coast. It has the largest remaining temple of Athena in existence, today. You should go, if you have not. That, and Ephesus were amazing.


  2. Jordan is on my list of places to visit someday. I was so close last summer when I was just across the Jordan river from it when I visited Israel. I could have waded across :-). Jerash will definitely be on my list of things to see in Jordan when I visit some day.


  3. Jerash features some of the most beautifully haunting ruins in the Middle East, and is oft-forgotten. But it’s one of those sites that seems to hum and shimmer with the whispers of centuries (and civilizations) lost. Enjoy the magic of it all! Wonderful write-up and photography as usual, Lesley.


  4. I like the story.

    Regarding the title question, I’d throw out Mycenae in Greece. Hundreds of years before the prime of Athens, it was a flourishing power throughout the region. Its ruins today are in one of the most dramatic scenes I’ve ever seen. Its massive cyclopean masonry is atop a mountain peak which recieves uncharacteristically harsh and chilling winds at times.


  5. And this is why I love old buildings and remnants of civilizations past. It makes history come alive for me. Hope to visit more historical sites soon! Thanks for sharing your photos!


  6. A vivid imagination, a background redolent with history and the magic carpet of the mind does the rest. Wonderful mental images.

    I’ve experienced something similar in places like Sri Lanka, Spain, France, Italy and Cyprus, as well as a few ancient sites in UK. In Russia I felt cold, but the temperature was -32C!


  7. Greco-Roman culture is my favorite period for art, archaeology, history. So fortunate I got to visit some of those areas when I did. Enjoyed this post.


  8. Great post. I must admit to living vicariously through your adventure. I studied Greek and Roman culture and history in university and can’t wait to see the ancient remains. If you haven’t seen it yet you should check out Pompeii, Italy; a city frozen in time.

    Also, did you know that Jordan’s King once appeared as an extra in Star Trek: Voyager? How awesome is that?


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  10. Loved the little dive into imagination. Love the country; the heat certainly seems to preserve the ancient glories in the birthplace of civilization.


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