Jordan is a country extremely rich in historical monuments. Very well preserved Greco-Roman ruins, in large part because they have been covered with sand for centuries. This film shows some of the sites from this era in Jordan.

 

translation of comments in the film: minute 02:01: 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.

minute 05:46: 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.

minute 07:06: 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.

minute 10:25: 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.

munute 12:08: 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.

About the 3 places in this film

 

Amman 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.

Jerash 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".

 

Umm Qais 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.

 

 

Music: 

 - Fawzi Al Aiedy (Iraq)  - Silence - Instrumental sur le Maqam Nahawend, Le Chant du Monde (LDX 74591)

 - Giuseppe Verdi - Nabucco - Ouverture, Deutsche Grammophon (410512-2)

 (Jordanie)  - Music from the Middel East - Tabl, Argo (ZFB 42)

 - Munir Bashir (Iraq)  - Ud classique arabe par Munir Bashir - Taqsim en Maqam : Kurdi, Ocora (OCR 63)

 - Lionel Hampton - Walkman Jazz - The man I love, Verve (833 287-2)

 

Amman, Jerash, Umm Qais - Jordan