Umm Qais where there are remains in place

The modern Middle Eastern country of Jordan belies the fact that it is one of the most historical places on Earth.  Many people may have heard of the carved city of Petra, but there is much more to see in Jordan, particularly for those with an interest in Biblical, Greek, Roman and Islamic history.

Umm Qais is the modern name of the ancient Roman city of Gadara, which was one of the ten cities of the Roman Decapolis.

The Decapolis was a group of ten cities located in what was Judea and Syria which at that time formed the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire.  With the exception of Damascus the cities were formed during the Hellenistic period of Greek rule.  They became known as the Decapolis after the Roman general Pompey captured Judea in 63 BC.

In the second century AD the Romans managed to ferry water to Gadara for a distance of 170 kilometres, 94 kilometres of which was carried in underground tunnels, and is the longest known tunnel from ancient times. The city of Gadara is also mentioned in the New Testament as the site where Jesus cast out demons and sent them into pigs, who then ran into the sea (Matthew 8:28-34).

Umm Qais is justly famous for its legacy of ancient civilizations. Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture and artefacts produced in this ancient city can be found throughout the site. The fact that Umm Qais is still inhabited to this day is a testament of a chronological settlement of ancient cultures in this strategic location.     

Umm Qais is about 100 kilometres south of Jordan’s capital of Amman, and it is becoming a popular tourist destination because of the well-preserved Roman ruins that are there.

Since excavations began in 1974, archaeologists have uncovered many impressive remains, including a colonnaded street, a theatre, a mausoleum and a Byzantine church.

Because Umm Qais is located on a hill at a height of 378 metres, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights, and on a very clear day you can spot the snow-covered mountains in Lebanon.

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