North of Jordan
Jerash

A close second to Petra on the list of favorite destinations in Jordan, the ancient city of Jerash boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years. The city's golden age came under Roman rule and the site is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world.

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 theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates. Beneath its external Graeco-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 Graeco-Roman world of the Mediterranean basin and the ancient traditions of the Arab Orient.
Ajlun

A c Ajlun Castle (also known as Qal'at [Castle] Ar-Rabad) was built in 1184 by 'Izz ad-Din Usama bin Munqidh, a general of Saladin, who defeated the Crusaders in 1187.

A fine example of Islamic architecture, the fortress dominated a wide stretch of the northern Jordan Valley and passages to it. From its hilltop position, Ajlun Castle protected the communication routes between south Jordan and Syria, and was one of a chain of forts that lit beacons at night to pass signals from the Euphrates as far as Cairo.

Today, Ajlun Castle is a splendid sight with a fascinating warren of towers,chambers, galleries and staircases to explore, while its hilltop position offers stunning views of the Jordan Valley.



Umm Qays

In addition to Jerash and Amman, Gadara (now Umm Qays) and Pella (Tabaqit Fahl) were once Decapolis cities, and each has unique appeal.

Perched on a splendid hilltop overlooking the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee, Umm Qays boasts impressive ancient remains, such as the stunning black basalt theatre, the basilica and adjacent courtyard strewn with nicely carved black sarcophagi, the colonnaded main street and a side street lined with shops, an underground mausoleum, two baths, a nymphaeum, a city gate and the faint outlines of what was a massive hippodrome.



Pella (Tabqit Fahl)

Pella is exceptionally rich in antiquities, some of which are exceedingly old.

Besides the excavated ruins from the Graeco-Roman period, Pella offers visitors the opportunity to see the remains of Chalcolithic settlement from the 4th millennium BC, evidence of Bronze and Iron Age walled cities, Byzantine churches, early Islamic residential quarters and a small medieval mosque.




As-Salt

An ancient town, As-Salt was once the most important settlement in the area between the Jordan Valley and the Eastern Desert. Because of its history as an important trading link between the Eastern Desert and the west, it was a significant place for the region’s many rulers.

The Romans, Byzantines and Mameluks all contributed to the growth of the town but it was at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, during Ottoman rule, when As-Salt enjoyed its most prosperous period.

It was at that time that the Ottomans established a regional administrative base in As-Salt and encouraged settlement from other parts of their empire. As the town’s status increased, many merchants arrived and, with their newly acquired wealth, built the fine houses that can still be admired in As-Salt today.

Take a walk around the old town and explore the narrow streets. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes as the town is quite hilly and there are many steps. During the summer time be sure to wait until the end of the day to explore. As-Salt is just a half hour drive from the city of Amman.
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