The city of Jerash, which is about 48 kilometres away from Amman, is another of the famous tourist locations of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and it has a lot in common with the country’s capital. Like Amman, Jerash went through a significant period of Roman rule, and both cities have a wealth of relics left over from that era, from amphitheatres to temples. Indeed, most archaeologists compare the ruins and structures of either city to each other regularly. There are particular structures that one city has that the other cannot boast, though. For example, Amman has the ever-popular ruins of the gigantic Hercules statue that once stood by the Temple of Hercules on its Citadel (which temple is comparable to Jerash’s Temple of Artemis, by the way). On the other hand, Jerash has Hadrian’s Arch, also often called the Triumphal Arch of Hadrian.
While this structure is indeed situated in old Jerash-modern Jerash being another town next to it-it may be included in a roster of sights and attractions for Amman because of its proximity. It is but a short drive from the Jordanian capital to the arch, and many travellers in Amman do indeed end up making day trips to Jerash to round out their Jordan vacation. And besides all the other sights to be found in the archaeological site of Jerash, the Arch of Hadrian is indeed worth the (short) trip out of your way.
The arch was erected in 129CE. It is a huge cream-coloured structure that celebrated the visit paid by the eponymous emperor to the area, and it was originally supposed to have been the south gate of the city after expansion of Jerash was completed. As the latter condition was never fulfilled, the triumphal entryway became a free-standing arch, much like the famous Arc de Triomphe. The arch was fairly recently the object of renovations and heavy restoration that temporarily made it difficult to appreciate (given that scaffolding and support bars all but obscured half of the structure for a while) but it is now more or less visible to all coming to the area. It is fairly representative of the architectural style of the period, although it does boast a rather interesting feature: there are rings of sculpted acanthus at the base of its pillars. These details are more typically seen as leafing wreaths set at the top, not the bottom of columns.
The beauty of visiting the arch-as far as the practical tourist is concerned-is that there is no charge for seeing it, as opposed to the other parts of the Jerash ruins. The arch is outside of the fenced area that is the archaeological site-cum-park, which means you can easily appreciate it to your heart’s content without having to cough up a single Jordanian Dinar for the price of entry alone. Of course, if you are willing and able, you might as well pay the few dinars for the price of entry to the park while you are there: there are some other lovely sites worth a bit of exploration inside, and if you like the arch, you are likely to like them too.