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 191, the two-storey construction was elaborately decorated, faced with marble slabs on the lower level, plastered above and topped with a half dome. Water cascaded into a large pool at the front, with the overflow pouring out through seven carved lions’ heads.
Although it’s been quite some time since water poured forth, the well-preserved structure remains one of the highlights of Jerash. Several finely sculpted Corinthian columns still frame the fountain, and at its foot is a lovely pink-granite basin, which was probably added by the Byzantines. At one point the entire structure was capped by a semi-dome in the shape of a shell, and you can still make out the elaborate capitals lining the base of the ceiling.