Nymphaeum

Fountain in Jerash

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.


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