Gadara (Modern Um Qeis or Qays) is part of the Tentative list of Jordan in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Gadara is a ruined Hellenistic city that was part of the Decapolis. The remains include rock-cut tombs, a Poseidon temple, theaters, a network of water tunnels and a paved street. They are today located at Umm Qais, a small town near the Jordan borders with Israel and Syria.
Map of GadaraLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
I visited Gadara during my trip to Jordan in August 2023.
I had a rented car and so it has been relatively easy to drive to the three Decapolis cities that are currently TWHS (Abila, Gadara and Pella) in northern Jordan. Gadara is the largest and best managed of them. There is a small museum, reconstructed buildings, the ruins are quite extensive and there are even underground tunnels that can be visited. Overall, the site is worth a visit even for non-WHS aficionados.
Considering the distance among the cities and the size of these archaeological site, it is quiet easy to visit all of them in one day, especially if driving from Jerash, rather than Amman.
I decided to split my visits in 2 consecutive days, though, as I added also visits to Umm El-Jimal and As-Salt.
Other than these logistic details, there is not much to add to the review that Wojciech left a few years ago. Not much has changed since.
The only aspect that I want to highlight is that, in my opinion, among the Decapolis cities in northern Jordan, Gadara is the only one that might have a tiny chance of becoming a WHS one day. As I stated in my review of Abila, instead of nominating each city individually with little chance for inscription, perhaps proposing a serial site with all the Decapolis cities together (maybe even including Amman's citadel, the ancient original Philadelphia) would have a much greater chance of inscription.
Read more from Riccardo Quaranta here.
Umm Qays is located on the top of the mountain with a view of many historical regions – Jordan Valley and West Bank, See of Galilee, Golan Heights and Syria. In a good weather even Mount Hermon and Nazareth is visible from here. Its unique location made it a pilgrimage place for Palestinians that had to escape to Jordan after Six-Day War – from here they could look at most of their lost homeland. As Umm Qays is very close to the border with Syria, even tourists have to pass through military checkpoint (one of few where they really examine foreign passports).
Umm Qays is a ruined town of ancient Gadara, one of greek cities in Palestine that formed a union called Dekapolis. The area is quite large and although some of the remnants are quite well preserved, overall the site seems to be a bit chaotic. It is even easy to lose orientation there. Some of the buildings were restored and now serve as utility rooms and museum (unfortunately closed on Friday when I visited the site). Overall the site is nice but comparing to another T-listed site of Jerash its chances to be inscribed seem to be much lower.
2016 Upstream process terminated
"To phase out the pilot project of Gadara (Modern Um Qeis or Qays) (Jordan) that did not register any progress."
2014 Upstream Process
Replacing Pella as Pilot Project for Jordan
2001 Added to Tentative List
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