Once named Gadara by the ancient Roman’s, today Um Qais is the most northern city of the Irbid governorate and home to the spectacular ruins of one of the key cities of the Decapolis.

Famous for breeding Greek philosophers and poets, Gadara’s original inhabitation dates back to the 7th c. BC and was a centre of conflict between the Greeks, Romans and Jews in the region up to the Islamic conquests in the 6th c.

In the early 2nd c. BC the Roman Byzantines seized the city, expanding its infrastructure to fulfil the emperor’s vision of making Gadara an autonomous stronghold in the Decapolis. Thought to be the location where Jesus Christ performed a miracle, casting out a devil from a man who had escaped the city, Um Qais also holds significant religious relevance to pilgrimage tourists.

Today the impressive ruins are spread out across 3km² and feature a long colonnade walkway surrounded by Greek pillars, leading to the theatres and temples. The site is surrounded by stunning landscapes with impressive panoramic views out across the Lake Galilee. Walking or hiking around the site is an excellent way to explore the area, just make sure to dress appropriately for the high temperatures in summer. Tania Tours recommends guests visit in April or September when the weather tends to cool down.