Temple of Zeus

Temple in Jerash

Built in AD 162 over the remains of an earlier Roman temple, the Temple of Zeus was once approached by a magnificent stairway leading from the temenos (sacred courtyard). Today, lizards sun themselves in the cracks of pavement, oblivious to the holy sacrifices that used to take place here. Positioned on the summit of the hill, the temple towers above the city. Despite erosion and earthquakes, enough of this once-beautiful building remains to allow visitors to understand its former importance.

A path leads from the temenos to the temple, via a welcome stand of trees. You can pause here for a panorama of the forum and a small hill of pines. As you walk from the trees to the temple, notice the intricate friezes of floral and figurative motifs unearthed by French excavations. The delicacy of the design contrasts strikingly with the massive size of the building blocks that comprise the temple's inner sanctum.