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Excursion to Jordan: first day (May 9, 2004)
Visits to Pella and Gerasa, cities of the Decapolis

Pella, Tabqat Fahl, Tell el-Husn

Panoramic view in the westward direction of the site of Pella (Tabaqat Fahl): wadi Malawi comes down from the left and wadi el-Hammeh from the right. Down from the Civic Complex (center), the sources of wadi Jirm el-Moz spring forth. To the left, the hill of Tell el-Husn; in front, the archaeological site of Tabaqat Fahl. The small mosque from the Mameluke Period and the ruins of the west church stand out there.

Plan of the archaeological site of Pella
A: Resthouse
B: Springs
C: Dig House
I: West Church
V: East Church
IX: Civic Complex

The East Church goes back to the 5th cent. A.D.

The Pella civic center: the sources, which flow beside the central monument (Roman temple and Byzantine church), are in good view as is the small theatre built on the southern side of the basilica. In the background, Tell el-Husn with a military fort of Byzantine epoch. To the left, Tell Abu el-Khas, where a small archaeological museum is found inside the modern Resthouse.

The Civic Complex of Pella. Stairs (seen here to the right) were built to provide access from a paved street to the Byzantine basilica (6th cent. A.D.).

Gerasa, Jerash

The South Gate of Gerasa

Archaeological plan of Gerasa
A: Excavation area
B: Modern city

1. Arch of Emperor Hadrian
2. Anfitheatre
3. South Gate
4. Temple of Zeus
5. South Theatre
6. Oval Plaza
7. Tetrapylon
8. Nimphaeum
9. Temple of Artemis
10. North Theatre

11. West Baths
12. East Baths
13. North Gate
14. Cathedral and St. Theodorus Church
15. Church of Sts. Peter and Paul
16. Triplex Church
17. Church of Genesius
18. Synagogue
19. Propilaea
20. Church of the Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs
21. Church of Procopius
22. Chapel of the bishop Marian
23. Church of the bishop Isaia

View of the Temple of Zeus, first built in the 1st cent. B.C., but later subjected to several modifications. Only partially excavated, its columns reach up to 15 m heigh.

The Oval Plaza as seen from the starting point of the columnaded Cardo.

The South Theatre of Gerasa built under Emperor Domitian (90 A.D.) was capable of holding around 5000 spectators. Below is a fragment of a Greek inscription.

Another view of the Oval Plaza, a work of the 1st cent. A.D. (80x90 m). In the background, the Cardo (center) and the Temple of Artemis (left). In the foreground, the courtyard of the Temple of Zeus.

The columnaded Cardo of Gerasa, measuring 800 m from the Oval Plaza up to the North Gate. The capitals of the first sector are sculpted in Ionic style while those of the second sector (shown here) are Corinthians.

To the left, the Nimphaeum of Gerasa (191 A.D.). Below is an artist rendition of the original aspect of the Nimphaeum and of the Temple of Artemis.

The imposing complex of the temple of Artemis constructed about 150-160 A.D.

Entrance to the Cathedral church complex, which probably corresponded to the propylaeum of an earlier Temple of Dionisus.

The courtyard between the Cathedral and St. Theodorus church.

In the courtyard of the Cathedral is found the "fountain of the miracle". In the corresponding feast, it was customary here to commemorate the miracle of Cana (Jn 2:1-11).

Click on photos to enlarge.

External Links

The Cities of the Decapolis

Australian Expedition to Pella Homepage

Pella Museum

Gerasa (BiblePlaces - Links)

History of Gerasa

Porticoed streets in ancient cities (Madaba Map website)

 SBF main, Index

Biblical Excursions

Biblical World



Umm el-Jimal



W. Kharrar




M. Nebo




Umm er-Rasas





Archaeological Museum

Iraq el-Amir

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