Photo by Jessica Lee
Wander through Ancient Gadara at Umm QaisThe vast ruins of Umm Qais (ancient Gadara) are tucked right into the tip of northwest Jordan, with sprawling views across to the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights from the edge of the plateau. Settlement here at this site runs from the Hellenistic era, but its heyday was during the Roman period when Gadara prospered as a trade route town. It's also famous for a Biblical connection as the place where Jesus performed the miracle of casting demons out of men into the town's pigs.
Although Gadara fell into obscurity after its grand Roman days, it continued to be lived in, and during the Ottoman era the site was built over, leaving a fascinating mix of Ottoman stone buildings that sit snug to the earlier Roman architecture. In particular, don't miss seeing the black basalt theater, walking down the wide Decumanus Maximus that still holds its original paving stones, and visiting the charming site museum housed in what was the home of the Ottoman governor.