Sunday, 9 December 2012

jordan day 2: gadara

ok, it's very obvious that i'm getting lazier in updating. so to make it less tedious, i'm gonna post by place of interest, instead of by day... hehehe... 


a hearty breakfast from the hotel's buffet line before setting out.

our first stop was to the ancient town of gadara in umm qais town, about 1.5 hour's drive up north from amman. along the way, the landscapes changed drastically, from a crowded city, to hilly landscape, to totally flat landscape etc. very interesting to see the obvious changes, but too bad we didn't take any photos while in the van.

umm qais is situated at northwest of jordan, sharing the border with israel and syria. 

 gadara is an ancient town upon which many civilizations have been built upon. this was also said to be where, according to all three synoptic gospels, jesus healed the demoniac and sent the demons into a herd of swine which ran into the sea of galilee. anyway, the most obvious ruins here are that of the romans (who else?).

entrance into the west theatre.

west theatre, built entirely of basalt.

 the church terrace

during the byzantine and early islamic periods, 2 churches were built on a terrace which had been constructed on the western slope of the acropolis during the 2nd century a.d. the churches replaced an earlier roman public building, probably a colonnaded hall or a market basilica. during the first half of the 6th century a.d., a church consisting of a square building with an octagonal interior was erected in the approximate centre of the terrace.

the finds of 4 tombs and 5 reliquaries in the churches indicate the importance of the complex. probably this was a site of pilgrimage, in which the tomb in the middle of the earlier church may have been the grave of a venerated martyr. like the west theatre and many other buildings in gadara, the churches were destroyed by earthquakes in the middle of the 8th century.

a quaint lil coffee house on top of a small hill, overlooking the sea of galilee.

view from the coffee house. the sea of galilee is to the extreme left (not very visible) 

at the top of west theatre

in the 2nd century a.d., the west theatre was built against the western slop of the acropolis. its auditorium offered space for approximately 3000 visitors and, like the semicircular orchestra, is built entirely of basalt.

the auditorium (cavea) is built in 3 storeys, which are subdivided into wedge-shaped sections of seats. underneath the second storey runs a vaulted corridor (crypta). 4 entrances (vomitoria) gave access from the corridor to the upper part of the auditorium. most of the entrances to the theatre collapsed during the earthquakes. likewise, very little remains of the former stage building (sceanae frons), which once blocked the view of the surrounding landscape. 

theatres in antiquity served various purposes. not only were tragic plays and comedies staged here, religious and political festivities were also conducted in the theatre. 

the so-called west theatre, which was destroyed by an earthquake in the 8th century, was only 1 of 3 theatres used by the gadarenes. there was also the larger north theatre and a 3rd smaller theatre at hammat gader in yarmouk valley.

view of the gadara from the direction of the sea of galilee...

we were only allocated about 30 min here, but actually there weren't that much to see also lar...


Biow said...

really nice.. you are going places

stargal said...

yays! really thankful for the traveling opportunities... :)