The Ruins at Jerash

In Jordan near Amman there are the most extraordinary Roman ruins at Jerash. I reckon they cover as large an area as Hyde Park, four times the area of the Roman Forum, with ten times more monuments at least. They are truly stunning, with great temples, a pillared road, mighty steps leading up to the Temple of Artemis. In one’s mind’s eye one can peer into the past as part of the crowd seeing the Emperor Hadrian striding through these great arches.

There are mighty ruined Byzantine churches to St Theodore amongst others but what struck me most was what a boy showed me. One can tip ever so slightly with just a key ring a huge stone pillar. This movement is a defence against earthquakes. And some of the cornices atop the pillars are hollow. They play music when moved. Thus the Romans had musical warning of an earthquake. How arrogant and stupid we are building vast layers of concrete which crush people by the thousand in earthquakes.

Why can we not learn the wisdom of people who lived two thousand years ago? To pause, consider, and build for beauty and safety and not just for profit.