A close second to Petra is the ancient city of Jerash, which boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back over 6,500 years, and was one of the ten great Roman cities of the Decapolis League.
- Numerous Corinthium columns
- Hadrian's Arch
- The circus/hippodrome
- The two large temples (dedicated to Zeus and Artemis)
- The nearly unique oval forum, which is surrounded by a fine colonnade
- The long colonnaded street or cardo
- Two theaters (the Large South Theater and smaller North Theater)
- Two communal baths, and a scattering of small temples
- A large Nymphaeum fed by an aqueduct
- An almost complete circuit of city walls
- A water powered saw mill for cutting stone
- Two large bridges across the nearby river
The city's golden age came under Roman rule, during which time it was known as Gerasa, and the site is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Jerash lies on a plain surrounded by hilly wooded areas and fertile basins. Conquered by General Pompey in 63 BC, it came under Roman rule and was one of the great Roman cities of the Decapolis League. Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash reveals a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theaters, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates.
Beneath its external Greco-Roman veneer, Jerash also preserves a subtle blend of east and west. Its architecture, religion and languages reflect a process by which two powerful cultures meshed and coexisted: the Greco-Roman world of the Mediterranean basin and the traditions of the Arab Orient.
The modern city of Jerash can be found to the east of the ruins. While the old and new share a city wall, careful preservation and planning has seen the city itself develop well away from the ruins so there is no encroachment on the sites of old.