Jerash’s superb colonnaded cardo maximus is straight in the way that only a Roman road can be. This is one of Jerash’s great highlights, and the walk along its entire 800m length from North Gate to the forum is well worth the effort. Built in the 1st century AD and complete with manholes to underground drainage, the street still bears the hallmarks of the city’s principal thoroughfare, with the ruts worn by thousands of chariots scored into the original flagstones.
The 500 columns that once lined the street were deliberately built at different heights to complement the facades of the buildings that stood behind them. Although most of the columns you see today were reassembled in the 1960s, they give an excellent impression of this spectacular thoroughfare.
There are many buildings of interest on either side of the cardo maximus, in various states of restoration and ruin. A highlight is the northern tetrapylon, an archway with four entrances.