We visited the ruins of Jerash in Jordan, a city conquered by Pompey in 63 BCE. It was one of the 10 great Decapolis cities of the Roman Empire. We will see Hadrian’s Arch, built in 129 CE in honor of the visit of Emperor Hadrian. Behind the arch is the hippodrome, where 15,000 spectators could watch chariot races. The site also contains one of most outstanding forums with 56 Ionic columns. Its oval shape and huge size make it very unique. There is also the South Theater, built in the 1st century, with a seating capacity of 5,000. Other ruins include two large temples (dedicated to Zeus and Artemis) and a long colonnaded street or cardo.
The Dead Sea is a salt-water lake located in the southern end of Pal-estine, in what was biblically called Judea. In Bible times, to the north of the Dead Sea was Jericho, to the west was Qumran and the Masada Fortress, and to the east was Mount Nebo, where Moses was thought to have looked over into the Promised Land. The “Salt Sea” is the name used for this body of water in the Pentateuch. The New Testament makes no reference to the Dead or Salt Sea. The Dead Sea is 47-53 miles long and 10 miles wide. It is the saltiest body of water in the world, having perhaps five to ten times the salinity of any other ocean on the planet. Approximately 1,350 feet below sea level and 1,278 feet deep, it is the lowest point on the earth’s surface. It is fed from the Jordan River and also from dry stream beds, called wadis in Arabic, that fill up with water during rainstorms and come rushing down the hillsides. Seven million tons of water evaporate each day from the Dead Sea. Bitter and distasteful to the mouth, painful to the eyes, and oily to the touch, the Dead Sea has absolutely no marine life existing in its depths, although there are some forms of life on its edges. Archaeologists think they have found the ruins of Sodom and Go-morrah on the southern edge of the Dead Sea.