A click on this icon above displays the list of chapters of this film about Jordan. A click on a dot goes directly to a chapter.
Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.
List of the chapters:
01:47 • Amman
02:31 • the Temple of Hercules
03:36 • Byzantine church
03:59 • the Umayyad mosque and market square
05:37 • the roman amphitheater
06:54 • Jerash
07:52 • Cardo Maximus
10:13 • the temple of Artemis
11:07 • The Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian
11:52 • Umm Qais
13:58 • the amphitheater
Jordan and the surrounding countries have been occupied by man for millennia. This region is the cradle of the 3 monotheistic religions and in a way, the crucible of Western and Middle Eastern civilization.
In Greek and then Roman times, the region was not only the spiritual but also and above all the economic center of the world.
Although most of the cities of Jordan were founded during the Greek era, the region assumed a major importance in economic exchanges under the Roman Empire.
The country is therefore full of testimonies from this period. Entire cities have been miraculously protected by a series of earthquakes that completely covered them with a thick blanket of sand. It saved the old stones, but not the men who cut and stacked them to make their homes and temples.
Spoken comments in the film:
Amman is a very old city, one of the oldest cities in the world to be still inhabited.
Formerly the capital of the Ammonites, a biblical people who have occupied the area since the Iron Age. The city was called Rhabbat Ammon and was fortified several millennia BC. Centuries later, the Greeks renamed it Philadelphia. In the meantime, the city was occupied among others by the Assyrians and the Persians
The citadel is now an open-air museum and you can see the ruins of the temple of Hercules built by the Romans.
The Umayyad Palace dating from the 7th or 8th century and a Byzantine church from the 6th century also occupied the site.
Amman being in a fairly active seismic zone and was destroyed several times by an earthquake and was gradually abandoned to the point of being nothing more than a small village when the Circassians at the end of the 19th century rebuilt the city that was going become the capital of Transjordan in 1921. Later, Transjordan became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The Roman theater probably built by Emperor Antoninus Pius in the middle of the 2nd century AD has 6000 seats.
Next to the amphitheater is the much smaller odeon. The odeon was used for musical performances.
These buildings are still used today for shows.
Jerash was founded towards the end of the 4th century BC and was an important city in antiquity. Successive conquests made it fall under the Judeans, the Nabataeans and finally the Romans.
It will be plundered in the 7th century by the Persians and then by the Arabs.
After having suffered various earthquakes it was abandoned after destruction during clashes between Muslims and Crusaders during the Crusades.
Jerash has remained hidden under a thick layer of sand for centuries, which explains its extraordinary state of preservation.
This temple is extraordinarily well preserved.
Most of its columns remained standing despite the fact that Jerash experienced many earthquakes.
This temple being very important, the Roman architects implemented all the anti-seismic techniques which were known at the time.
Like what, the architects did not wait for the XXth century to counter the forces of nature.
If the name of Umm Qais evokes little for those who have not visited it, it is a safe bet that its ancient name is much more evocative: Antioch. Umm But also bears the name of Gadara.
Here is another city dating from the Roman era which presents an admirable state of conservation, in addition to the admirable landscapes and panoramas that can be admired while walking there.
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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of jordanian traditional music in "Jordan • the Roman Jordan", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.
About the 3 places in this film
is the capital and largest city of Jordan. Already around 7250 BC the place was inhabited. Statues from the period bear witness to this. The Romans and Greeks called it Philadelphia and the current name was given given during the Islamic period.
The city has a little over 4 million inhabitants. The population swelled following the numerous exoduses during the 20th century. Among these are the Palestinian refugees and more recently the Syrians.
north of Amman in Jordan was already inhabited in the Neolithic era since human remains dating back 7,500 years have been discovered there. The city flourished during the Greek and Roman periods and was largely destroyed by a violent earthquake on January 18, 749. The city being located in a region of high seismic activity, a series of earthquakes followed that of 749, ending the destruction of the city. The city experienced a short rebound when the Syrians built a fort there and made it a garrison of fifty soldiers who were quickly wiped out by the crusaders of Bauduin II, then king of Jerusalem.
Jerash is one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman sites, which earned it the nickname "Pompeii of the East".
is a small town located on the borders with Syria and Israel in northern Jordan. In Greco-Roman times it bore the name of Gadara. Gadara was an important cultural center and preserves magnificent ruins.