The grandeur of this beautifully preserved ancient roman city is evident in its collonaded street, ceremonial arches, oval plaza, Byzantine churches, original amphitheatres and more monuments. The city of Jerash tells the tales of the old Roman Empire as it’s one of the largest and most well-preserved Roman architecture sites outside of Italy. The ancient city’s columned streets date as far back as 65BC. The beauty and uniqueness of Jerash is a throwback to that era and is what makes Jerash festival unique.
This northern Jordanian town is located in the lower hills of the mountain Gilead. Come July every year, Jerash transforms into a cultural hotspot for musicians, poets, theatre groups, dancers, and tourists. The Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts is the reason for this transformation.
In July, this city steeped in history hosts one of the world’s bubbliest and most remarkable cultural events.
Cities like Jerash, Gadara, Petra, and Palmyra are the result of the fusion of the great Middle-East trading cities and Western societies. The result was a wonderful fusion of art, commerce and culture.
This synthesis is evident in the two-week Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts as the ancient city transforms into a blend of commerce, cultural performances and artistic aesthetics.
Some call it the Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts; others call it the Jerash Music festival or Jerash Festival. It has been held yearly by the Jordan Kingdom for over 40 years.
In 2016, the 34th event recorded an astonishing record of over 100,000 guests from all over the world. Such is the anticipation surrounding this grand festival in the Jerash ruins.
The Jerash carnival features a showcase for folklore dance by local and international groups, opera, concerts, ballet and performances by popular singers. You can also buy traditional handcrafts around.
Queen Noor Al-Hussein initiated the Jerash festival in 1981. Ever since, the carnival has added to the allure of the ancient Greco-Roman City. The beautiful historic landscape adds the perfect dramatic backdrop to this outstanding cultural event.
Other Activities of The Jerash Festivals of Culture and Arts
Since its inauguration, the festival has been taking place during July ending and Beginning of August for over 40 years. The event becomes a showcase of talents from singers, and folklore troupes, to musicals, poetry recitals, ballets, art shows, handicrafts and orchestras in Shakespearean theatres.
The festival witnesses performances from all over the world. Countries like Palestine, Mexico, Croatia, Azerbaijan, Korea and Sweden usually have bands and singers present.
Children are also not left out of this festival in the Jerash ruins as there are special acts and exhibitions for kids. This makes the Jerash festival one for the entire family. No one is left out of the fun.
However, Jerash carnival is about more than just jaw-dropping performances in the different arenas. You can take a break from all the bustle and excitement.
Take a stroll through the monuments and ancient streets to have a feel for the powerful drama of Jordanian beauty. Go to various art and exhibitions, shop for handicrafts, or enjoy casual meals.
You can also visit the skilled craftsmen and women who showcase different items like embroidery, glass, Bedouin rugs, jewellery, metal and ceramics.
Recent Years Of The Jerash Festival
In 2016, there were over 100,000 guests at the festival. 2019 was the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, so the turnout wasn’t as much. Still, the two-week festival, which began on July 18, was memorable.
The opening ceremony was accompanied by a performance by a Jordanian singer-songwriter, Omar Al-Abdallat. He is believed to have popularized Bedouin music.
The following night, self-acclaimed ‘King of Romance’, Lebanese singer Wael Kfourygave a mesmerizing performance to a packed audience at the South Theater.
The first Saturday saw a performance by the Lebanese pop singing sensation, Nancy Ajram, in a night filled with energy and magic.
As expected, the yearly festival of Jerash didn’t hold in 2020 due to the pandemic and lockdown. However, in 2021, it was back with a bang and better. Prime Minister Bisher Al Khasawne lighted a touch to commence the event. The theme was “Jerash: Decorated with Joy”.
The energy and excitement of the carnival were contagious. Probably as the thousands that attended were happy to be out again, free of the Covid infection. Singers like Najwa Karam, Majida El Roumi, George Wassoufand Saif Nabeel gave entertaining performances for 11 days straight. “Wild” is how best to describe the energy.
July – August is usually a quiet period for Jordanian tourism, so hotel and travel prices are typically affordable for the Jerash festival.
Jordan itself is a wonderful country to visit and a plethora of adventures await. At Afari Travels, visiting Jordan is a culture and as such we plan open group trips to Jordan yearly.
You get to experience the beautiful and awe-inspiring destinations on display as well as the fun and excitement of Jerash Festival.
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