It was the devastating earthquake in 747 AD that helped preserve many sites of the Roman Cities in the Levantine area.


In Madaba, the 19th century Greek Orthodox church of St. George houses a map from 560AD. The map depicted once all the major biblical sites of the Middle East. Most of the mosaic is lost.


Map of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea with the Jordan river in the upper left hand side.

The mosaic of an early 6th century Byzantine villa shows Aphrodite and Adonis. She slaps Eros with her sandal. The 3 Graces (joy, beauty and charm) float around them.


8th-century mosaic of the Church of St. Mary built over a former  Roman temple. All lines of the multi-colored and intricate mosaic are connected  with each other forming patterns with no beginnings or ends. It was fascinating!


Floor mosaic depicting a Roman house beside a fruit tree with a Greek inscription above.

The Roman city of Gerasa (Jerash) was so well built that despite the earthquake the structures  of many public buildings still remain.


In honor of emperor Hadrian, who visited Gerasa and stayed there for one year, the Triumphal Arch was built. Originally, it was twice as high!


The center of the city is the forum, encircling an enormous space. Everything is original. The pomp and the luxury of the Roman way of life became very real by walking through the city.


The south theater seated 3000 spectators. The stage (photo) is still used for performances.



Colonnaded street leading to the North Gate and further on to the city of Pella.

A small relief on the wall of the northern theater.


Columns of the Artemis temple. The temple is the biggest and most important temple of the city. Up to the Ottoman period, the city was  surrounded by healthy forest with lots of wildlife hence the strong veneration of Artemis, the goddess of hunting.

At the end of our day, we bought figs from one of the many fruit stands beside the highway.