Thursday, July 07, 2005

Jerash once again alive with Roman Gladiators

"After a 2,000-year lull, games have again hit the sands of Jordan's famed Roman-ruin city of Jerash, 30 miles north of the capital, Amman, as a group of Jordanian investors and a Swedish history buff are re-creating gladiator matches and chariot racing at Jerash's 2nd Century hippodrome.

In 1806 Ulrich Jasper Seetzen, a German traveller, came upon ruins that he thought might be those of an ancient city buried under centuries of sand. It was in 1925 that excavations began on the site and as layer upon layer of civilisation were revealed, a well-preserved Greco-Roman city began to emerge.

Jerash rose from the rubble, awakened from its long repose ? its ancient city walls enclosing colonnaded paved streets with chariot tracks worn in the original stone, a dramatic oval plaza defined by a colonnade of Ionic columns, a complex of baths, theatres, the temples of Dionysus, Artemis and Zeus, and a superb hippodrome."
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