Once known as Gedara, Umm Qais was one of the great Roman cities that made up the Decapolis. The site can be visited on a long full-day tour from Amman, seeing Jerash on the way. You’ll have a private guide and driver throughout, and you can also stop off at other points of interest along the way.
The site is shared with an abandoned Ottoman-era village and the views are incredible – looking out over Jordan, Syria and Israel including Golan Heights, Mt Hermon and the Sea of Galilee. Umm Qais was built using the locally-found black basalt stone. The Theatre is of particular interest, being almost perfectly preserved. Begin your visit wandering through the Ottoman village, through the weed-ridden courtyards and alleyways. You then approach the West Theatre, built entirely of basalt, and capable of holding 3000 spectators. Next, see the Basilica Terrace, cut into bedrock on one side, and containing a small Byzantine-era church. You arrive at the Decumanus Maximus, Umm Qais’ paved main street. Finally, visit the North Theatre before visiting the museum.