Gadara

Archaeological Site in Jordan Valley

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. Umm Qais is especially attractive in spring, when an explosion of wildflowers adorns the fallen masonry.

Umm Qais has another claim to fame as the site where, according to the Bible, Jesus performed one of his greatest miracles: casting demons from two men into a herd of pigs. Since the 1st millennium, Gadara has thus been a place of Christian pilgrimage, though a site on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee also claims to mark the spot.

The site boasts spectacular views of three countries (Jordan, Syria, and Israel and the Palestinian Territories), encompassing the Golan Heights, Mt Hermon and the Sea of Galilee. The Umm Qais Resthouse, a popular restaurant located amid the ruins, is a favourite with families congregating to swap stories of the Holy Land.