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Umm Qais

In the northwestern corner of Jordan, in the hills above the Jordan Valley, are the ruins of the Decapolis city of Gadara, now called Umm Qais. The site is striking because of its juxtaposition of Roman ruins with an abandoned Ottoman-era village, as well as its tremendous vantage point, with views of three countries (Jordan, Syria, and Israel and the Palestinian Territories), encompassing the Golan Heights, Mt Hermon and the Sea of Galilee.

According to the Bible, it was here that Jesus performed the miracle of the Gadarene swine: casting the demons out of two men into a herd of pigs.

Today Umm Qais is at the forefront of community-tourism development in Jordan, and it's worth staying a night or two to enjoy an increasing array of options, from hiking and biking to beekeeping, foraging and cooking classes.

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Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Umm Qais.

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