Umm Qais

From

Umm Qais

Location:

northern Jordan

names:

  • Umm Qais.
  • أم قيس
  • Gadara (Ancient Greek).

Governorate:

Irbid


History:

It lies in the Bani Kinanah Department and Irbid Governorate in the extreme northwest of the country, near Jordan’s borders with Palestine and Syria.

In ancient times, Gadara was strategically situated, laced by a number of key trading routes connecting Syria and Palestine.

It was blessed with fertile soil and abundant rainwater.

This town also flourished intellectually in the reign of Augustus and became distinguished for its cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Gadara was also the resort of choice for Romans vacationing in the nearby Himmet Gader Springs.

Archaeological surveys indicate that Gadara was occupied as early as the 7th century BC.

The Greek historian, Polybius, described the region as being under Ptolemaic control at the time.

In 63 BC, Pompey liberated Gadara and joined it to the Roman league of ten cities, the Decapolis.

The city reached its peak of prosperity in the 2nd century AD.

New collonaded streets, temples, theatres, and public baths sprouted.

Meleagros compared Gadara with Athens, which testifies to the city’s status as a creative centre of Hellenism in ancient Near East.