The Hidden Gems of Umm Qais: Exploring The Ruins And History

October 20th 2023 in Explore
The Hidden Gems of Umm Qais: Exploring The Ruins And History

Trips & Tours to Umm Qais, Jordan

Umm Qais Pillars

Found above the Jordan Valley are the ruins of Umm Qais, formerly the city of Gadara. Attracting plenty of visitors, the ruins and religious ties have huge historical significance and give a magnificent view of the country below. Here is our comprehensive list of what to do in Umm Qais and what to see.

Umm Qais’ History Goes Back To The Bible

Much of Jordan’s history spans thousands and thousands of years, but Umm Qais is connected to a miracle, perhaps making it even more fascinating.

When the region was known as Garada, it was the site for the Gadarene Swine miracle. According to the Bible, Jesus was able to exorcise a man, remove the demon and expel it into a herd of pigs. The pigs then ran into a lake and drowned themselves.

Building in Umm Qais

Gadara then became well known for being a site of trade between Syria and Palestine and a popular holiday destination for the Romans attracting many artists too. Umm Qais became notable for producing scholars, poets and more.

Like many places in Jordan, such as Petra and Amman, the area was devastated by an earthquake and the place was abandoned, left in disrepair.

What To See In Umm Qais

In a location that is rich in such deep history, there are so many things to see in Umm Qais, Jordan. Here are our recommendations that are essential for your day trip to the beautiful area.

The Basilica Terrace

A huge space for tourists to walk around, there is a small Byzantine Church in the middle. An intriguing piece of architecture dating back to the 6th Century, tourists can wander through the ruins of the building, and the domes that used to be Byzantine shops.

Basilica Umm Qais

Ottoman Village

Travel back in time to the Ottoman Era by visiting the village, a settlement that was occupied until the 1980s. Here, you will find houses from the era, as well as a school and even a mosque. The cobbled streets between the buildings make for a great walk and are the perfect opportunity to imagine yourself living in this stunning location.

Roman Tombs

Outside the large archaeological are the Roman Tombs. The underground Mausoleum was considered a sacred holy place and it was believed a local saint was buried here hundreds of years ago.

ruins in Umm Qais

You will know you’ve found the tombs as a huge stone door stands at their entrance, inviting you to discover the history within.

Try Some Delicious Jordan Food

No day trip is complete without stopping for some food, and trying some authentic food from Jordan is a must.

Thankfully, Umm Qais has a restaurant atop the hill offering outstanding views across the Umm Qais ruins, the Jordan landscape and the Sea of Galilee. Whether you just want to stop off at the Umm Qais Resthouse for a cooling drink and a snack or you want to try one of the larger meals on offer, we definitely recommend visiting.

It's also perfect for those travelling on a budget, with the average meal only costing 10 Dollars. Bear in mind that the Umm Qais Resthouse is only open between June - September, so you’ll have to time your trip for the Summer months.

Travelling To Umm Qais

Trees at Umm Qais

The easiest way of getting to Umm Qais in Jordan is by renting a car. This allows you the freedom to visit when it suits your schedule as well as take your trip with the scenic trip there.

Only 68 miles from Amman, visiting the ancient city can easily be done in a day if you’re staying in the capital.

Many hotels also offer tours to the area where you can catch a bus to see the ruins.

Jordan is steeped in fascinating history, going back much further than other parts of the world. Umm Qais is no different and certainly deserves a place on your Jordan itinerary. Whether you’re travelling through on a road trip or taking time to visit all the historical sites, Umm Qais is a must-see destination.

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