Cardo Maximus


and the Oval Plaza



Having passed through the Arch of Hadrian, stretching to the south gate, alongside the road lies the hippodrome, an elongated arena, used for chariot and horse races, with seating for 15000 people.


Just inside the south gate lies the Oval Plaza, an enormous paved forum surrounded by a colonnade of 1st century CE Ionic pillars, and containing a 7th century fountain at its centre.


Jerash like all Roman town and army camps, even temporary ones, was laid out to the standard pattern. The central road, the Cardo Maximus, where all the official buildings were located, running south to north, from the Oval Plaza near the south gate through the city to the north gate. Like the Plaza the Cardo was lined with Ionic colonades, these were however replaced by more ornate Corinthian columns during the 2nd century.


This is traversed by two secondary roads, the South and North Decumanus Maximus, running east to west. The southern one runs from the west gate, and down the valley and crosses a bridge before being lost in the turmoil of the modern town, presumably to the east gate. These gates were called the Porta Praetoria, nearest the enemy, and the Porta Decumana in the case of military camps.


At the intersections of the Cardo with the Decumanus's are built Tetrapylons, monumental plinths supporting four columns, acting like ancient roundabouts.


Lying along the length of the Cardo are the Macellum, the Byzantine Cathedral, the Nymphaeum, the Temple of Artemis, the Propylaeum, the Western Baths and the Northern Theatre, it was also lined on both sides with shops.



The Oval Plaza


The Fountain


The Colonnaded Cardo Maximus


The Base of the South Tetrapylon




Jordan Tour