The beauty of Roman cities: Madaba and Gerasa (Jerash)

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.

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Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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