Temple of Artemis in the ancient Roman city of Gerasa, preset-day Jerash, Jordan.

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Temple of Artemis

Top choice in Jerash

Dedicated to Artemis, the goddess of hunting and fertility and the daughter of Zeus and Leto, this temple was built between AD 150 and 170, and flanked by 12 elaborately carved Corinthian columns (11 still stand). The construction is particularly impressive given that large vaults, housing temple treasure, had to be built to the north and south to make the courtyard level. The whole building was once clad in marble, and prized statues of Artemis would have adorned the niches.

If you visit on a partly cloudy day, you’re in for a treat, as the sandstone pillars of the temple light up like bars of liquid gold each time the sun comes out. It’s a magical sight, and magic – or a sense of the world beyond – was exactly what the architects of this gem of a building would have been trying to capture in their design.

Alas, the edict of Theodorius in AD 386, permitting the dismantling of pagan temples, led to the demise of this once-grand edifice, as it was picked apart for materials to construct churches. The Byzantines later converted the site to an artisan workshop for kitchenware and crockery. In the 12th century the structure was temporarily brought back to life as an Arab fortification, only to be destroyed by the Crusaders.

If your energy is starting to flag, this is a good place to turn back. You can descend through the temple's gateway, the propylaeum. If you want to get a sense of the complete extent of Jerash, head towards the North Gate for further views.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Jerash attractions

1. Propylaeum

0.07 MILES

Built in AD 150, this is the monumental gateway to the Temple of Artemis. It was originally flanked by shops.

2. Nymphaeum

0.08 MILES

On the western side of the cardo maximus is the elegant nymphaeum, the main ornamental fountain of Jerash, dedicated to the water nymphs. Built about AD…

3. Church of St Theodore

0.08 MILES

Little remains of this church apart from the twin colonnades (picturesquely overgrown with wildflowers in spring) and the apse, which overlooks the…

4. Courtyard of the Fountain

0.08 MILES

This ancient fountain was once fed by a local reservoir. When it was dedicated to Dionysus, it was alleged that the god would turn its water into wine,…

5. Cathedral

0.08 MILES

South of the nymphaeum, an elaborate staircase rises from the cardo maximus to Jerash's only cathedral. Little more than a modest Byzantine church, it was…

6. North Theatre

0.09 MILES

Built about AD 165 and enlarged in 235, the beautiful little North Theatre was most likely used for government meetings rather than artistic performances…

7. Church of St Cosmos & St Damianus


When Christianity became the state religion under Emperor Constantine in 324, all Roman monuments that were tainted by so-called pagan practices were…