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RUINS OF DJERASH. These celebrated ruins are about three days' journey east, from the Lake of Tiberias and the River Jordan: the way is through the desert. The city was built on an elevated plain in the mountains of Moerad, on uneven ground, on both sides of a stream, which bears the name of the River of Djerash. The ruins are nearly an hour and a quarter in circumference; the walls, of which fragments only remain, were eight feet in thickness, and built of square hewn stones, of middling size. Djerash, till within the last ten years, was rarely visited by travellers, on account of their fear of the Bedouins: but recently many wanderers have gone there in safety and at leisure, some of whom were men who had retired from their business and manufactures, and were not likely to brave imminent peril. It may be performed at a third of the expense of the journey to Palmyra: yet a visit to this place, the ancient Gerasa, as is supposed, is not without risk from the Bedouins, who sometimes conceal themselves beneath the trees that overshade the river. The first object that arrests the attention, is a temple: the main body consists of an oblong square, the interior of which is about twenty-five paces in length, and eighteen in breadth: a double row, of six columns in each row, adorned the front of the temple; of the first row, five columns are yet standing; of the second, four. Their style of architecture seems to belong to the best period of the Corinthian order, their capitals being beautifully ornamented with the acanthus leaves. The shafts are composed of five or six pieces, and they are thirty-five to forty feet in height. The interior of the building is filled with the ruins of the roof: the temple stands within a large area, surrounded by a double row of columns. "The whole edifice," Burckhardt observes, u seems to have been superior in taste and magnificence, to every public building of this kind in Syria, the temple of the sun at Palmyra excepted." Of two hundred columns which originally adorned this temple and its area, some broken shafts, and three or four nearly entire, but without their capitals, are the only remains. Here also are numerous remains of private habitations; a street, still paved in some places, leads to a spot where several broken columns are yet standing, and another avenue is adorned with a colonnade on either side: about thirty broken shafts are now reckoned, and two entire columns, but without their capitals: on the other side of the street, and opposite to these, are five columns, with their capitals and entablatures: they are but fifteen feet high, and in an imperfect state. A little farther to the southeast, this street crosses the principal avenue of the town; on both sides of which are the remains of columns, which were much larger than the former. On the right side of this principal street are thirty-four columns yet standing: and in some places behind this colonnade are low apartments, which appear to have been shops: this vista terminates in a large open space, enclosed by a magnificent semicircle of pillars in a single row: fifty-seven remain. To the right, on entering this forum, or open space, are four, and then twenty-one, united by their entablatures: to the left, five, seven, and twenty, also with entablatures: the pillars near the entrance are fifteen feet in height, and are all of the Ionic order. From this spot the ground rises, and, on the top of a low but steep hill, are the remains of a beautiful temple, commanding a view over the greater part of the town. A side-door leads from this temple, at about sixty paces distant, towards a large theatre on the side of the hill: it fronts the town, so that the spectators might enjoy the prospect of all its principal buildings and quarters: there are twenty-eight rows of seats, two feet in breadth: in three different places are small narrow staircases opening into the rows, to facilitate the ingress or egress of the spectators; in front, the theatre is closed by a wall, forty paces in length, embellished within by five richly decorated niches, which are connected with each other by columns. The great street of Djerash is in several places almost impassable with fragments of pillars: its pavement is preserved in many parts; and it is peopled with groups of columns, that rise in its desolation like little groves of palm-trees in the desert. The aspect of this ruined city is less magnificent and perfect, than it is singular and solemn: streets, houses, theatres, in the heart of an extensive and unpeopled wilderness, which once rejoiced in the excitements of the drama, and was alive with the busy details of trade. The spectacles of Balbec and Palmyra, are of vast temples only; in Djerash the spectator feels as if he was in a nobler kind of Pompeii, where the shops, the cellars, the chambers, the foot-pavements, are mingled with the splendid remains of temples, buildings, and flights of columns, broken and entire, even as the trees of the forest. There is another quadrangle, of fine Corinthian pillars, in front of a second theatre: between every two boxes is a niche, forming a very elegant ornament The plate shows the bold and romantic character of the ground on which the city was built. The bridge in front is fourteen feet wide, very ancient, and built with great solidity. The calcareous stone of which Djerash is built is the same as the rock of the neighbouring mountains: it is surprising that no granite columns should be found here, as they abound in ancient Syrian cities, of much less note and magnificence than Djerash. END OF THE THIRD SERIES.



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