Gadara (Aramaic for “Fence”) was probably founded in the Hellenistic period, although remains from its foundations are scarce. Built and designed as a Greek Polis, in Roman times Gadara became a member of the Decapolis , a league of ten Pagan cities, which is also mentioned in the New Testament. The city was a cultural center and the home town of philosophers, rhetoricians, scientists and poets.
Gadara is identified as Umm Qays, in northern Jordan, close to the border with Israel and Syria.
Excavations at Gadara uncovered a a wealth of finds from Classical periods. They include two theatres, a temple, a basilica, a public fountain (nymphaeum), a mausoleum, a hippodrome, an elaborate water system to a big bath complex, and a double colonnaded street (Decumanos Maximos). From the site one gets also a great view of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights.
Gadara and Hamat Gader
Gadara was also the resort of choice for Romans vacationing in the nearby Hammat Gader Hot springs, which is today in Israel. The impressive remains of the Roman-Byzantine spa complex were excavated by Y. Hirschfeld of the Hebrew University, and are partially restored.
Gadara and the Decapolis
Decapolis is a term used to describe a group of supposedly ten cities in the southern Levant that co-existed during the Roman period. These cities were all centers of Greek and Roman culture and supported by the Romans. Some of these cities exist to this day, and some have become archaeological sites. Six of these cities are today in Jordan (Gerasa, Gadara, Pella, Amman, Capitolias, and Raphana). Two are in Syria (Damascus and Canatha), and two in Israel (Beit-Shean and Hippos-Sussita). Non
The Decapolis and Jesus
The Gospels record Jesus visiting the cities of the Decapolis, but none of them mention which ones. Jesus probably visited Beit-Shean (then called Nysa Scythopolis), as it is on the way from the Galilee to Jerusalem.
Gadara is mentioned in Matthew’s version of the story of the miracle of the swine (8:28), while Gerasa is mentioned Mark’s version to the same story (5:1). In reality, the city of Hippos-Sussita is the closest to the Sea of Galilee, where the event took place. Being so, the swine herders were probably from Hippos-Sussita, or another city (Kursi?) whose name was later forgotten.
Damascus is mentioned in the book of acts, as where Paul converted to Christianity.
Book a Private Tour to Gadara
Gadara is about 70 km north of Gerasa, in the northern part of Jordan.
Contact us for a tour proposal of Jordan that will include a visit to Gadara.
Points of Interest in the Area
|Bethany beyond the Jordan|
|Eight Days Tour of Jordan|