Cities of the League of the Decapolis in Jordan
The Historic Decapolis League consisted of Greco-Roman cities in the Middle East renowned for their trade routes, impressive archeology, biblical stories, and successful civilizations. Many cities of the Decapolis were located in present-day Jordan. Although this league was established thousands of years ago, some of its cities in the Jordanian kingdom remain accessible and maintained for visitors from all over the world to visit and explore, obtaining a unique opportunity to learn more about them. religious references and ancient characteristics of these places.
Established in 64-63 BC, the Decapolis was a league of 10 ancient cities known in the Levant region of the Middle East, most of them located in different parts of Jordan. Decapolis translates to deka for “ten” and polis for “cities” in Greek. These cities included Philadelphia (now Amman), Gerasa (Jerash), Pella (Tabaqat Fahl), Scythopolis (Beisan), Gadara (Umm Qais), Damascus, Hippos (Qal’at al-Husn in the Golan Heights), Canatha (Kanawat in southern Syria), Dium and Raphana. The League was formed primarily because of the cities’ common language, culture, and location; however, each city functioned as an independent free state with its territory made up of various villages and settlements. The cities of the League of the Decapolis also epitomized mutual security and protection, and their distinctive location in the region was beneficial for trade and travel routes. With the support of Rome, the unique characteristics of the cities helped the League to prosper, grow stronger, and become an extremely important region in the world. As cities continued to exist and develop strongly for many years, earthquakes and invasions ultimately led to the destruction of most of the League.
Decapolis in the Bible
Referenced in several verses of the Holy Bible, the League of the Decapolis was an extremely important religious region filled with stories and experiences of Jesus Christ. Specifically, the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Mark refer to the location with verses explaining that it was not only the one where Jesus performed his ministry, but also the one where Jesus healed and helped those who were sick. In this specific area, Jesus discovered the enormous need for healing with stories of Jesus performing miracles on those who were sick. According to Mark 7: 31-37, it says the following: “So Jesus left the environs of Tire and passed through Sidon, as far as the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There people brought a man who was deaf and could barely speak to him, and they begged Jesus to lay hands on him. The verse goes on to explain that “after taking him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers in the man’s ears, then he spat and touched the man’s tongue. He rolled his eyes and with a deep sigh said to him: “Ephphatha”, which means “open yourself”. At this, the man’s ears fell open, his tongue loosened, and he began to speak clearly. These biblical references and stories of Jesus Christ further reinforce the importance of the cities of the Decapolis.
Many sacred places of the League of the Decapolis have been rediscovered, well preserved and continue to exist in present-day Jordan, including the towns of Jerash, Umm Qais, Amman, Pella and Raphana. Visitors to the kingdom can plan trips to these cities and discover unique opportunities that will allow them to explore and learn more about the places and stories that existed many years ago. Visitors can also reflect on the biblical significance of these cities and enjoy a journey of holiness and spirituality by experiencing these historic places firsthand. For example, those who choose to visit the ancient city of Jerash, home to some of the best-preserved Greco-Roman ruins and architecture in the Middle East, can explore some of the stunning colonnaded streets, temples, theaters, and monuments. from the city. imagine how it worked back then. Jerash is located north of Amman, the capital of Jordan, and a short day’s drive away, making it one of the major cities in the Decapolis to visit on a trip to Jordan.
Additionally, guests can visit Umm Qais, a city suspended on top of a magnificent hill overlooking the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee in the northern region of Jordan. While traveling to Umm Qais, tourists can visit two museums that include ceramics dating from the Hellenistic period as well as statues and monuments from the Roman period. You can also explore the ruins of two ancient theaters, which are part of the archaeological site of Umm Qais. For those looking for outdoor activities, they can get an introduction to beekeeping with a professional beekeeper who will introduce visitors to the exciting process of making honey or enjoy a cycling experience for those who wish to see the land. hilly agricultural fields of Umm Qais through the Jordanian social enterprise, Destinations Baraka. Although the town of Raphana located north of Umm Qais is not as popular as the others, it is worth a visit for those who like to explore historic and unspoiled archeology. It sits amid the agricultural fields of the modern Ain Quweilbeh spring and consists of Roman temples, Byzantine churches, and early baths and tombs. Likewise, the town of Pella situated above the country’s magnificent Jordan Valley is particularly important to archaeologists as it reveals evidence of thousands of years of continuous settlement and civilization. Pella offers visitors the chance to see ruins from the Greco-Roman period, including a theater, as well as remains from the Bronze and Iron Ages and Byzantine churches and houses.
Additionally, the capital of Jordan, Amman, may have been the ancient city of Philadelphia during the Decapolis era, but today it is a vibrant, modern and diverse city. It is home to incredible restaurants that offer international cuisines as well as traditional Jordanian dishes, an impressive art scene and a vibrant cultural atmosphere. Visitors to Amman can explore local art galleries such as Wadi Finan Art Gallery and Darat Al Funun which presents works of art by Jordanian and regional artists, and hosts various workshops, film screenings and cultural events. They can also visit beautifully built churches and chapels that offer English and Arab masses as well as religious gatherings and events throughout the year. For example, in the heart of Jabal Amman, one of the best places in the capital to walk around and enjoy the vibrancy of the city and the local shops is the Church of St. Joseph which offers sincere masses as well as masses in Italian.
The ancient League of the Decapolis once included many Greco-Roman cities in the Middle East region which stood out for their strength, commerce, location and biblical significance, succeeding each other as a unit for many years. throughout history. Today, although cities may no longer exist as they once did, many of them, especially those located in Jordan, embody fascinating archaeological remains and biblical references. These cities in Jordan allow people to better understand and experience the stories of Jesus Christ and past civilizations.