Now that we had seen the castle at Ajloun, Badran headed off towards Umm Qays, the northern most popular tourist spot in Jordan. With this, we would have effectively covered most of what was there to see in north Jordan.
Known as Gadara in ancient times, Umm Qays was renowned in its time as a cultural centre. It was the home of several classical poets and philosophers, including Theodorus, founder of a rhetorical school in Rome. Gadara became one of the most important cities of the Decapolis, it had minted its own coins, and depended the pompean calendar
Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Jordan Valley, Umm Qays boasts of impressive colonnaded streets, vaulted terrace and the ruins of two theatres. From the top of the site, sitting in a restaurant, you can actually view the confluence of three countries. Along Lake Tiberias (or the Sea of Galilee), you can see Syria, Palestine and of course you are standing in Jordan.
The ruins are different in that the structures are built with basalt or volcanic rock which is black in colour. This mixed with limestone gives a dark, brooding yet mosaic like look to the buildings which is fascinating. The theatre is still intact and would be a lovely location for a performance under the blue auzure sky....
As you walk down the colonnaded street, you see a lot of what would have been shops and you can see the black basalt stone.