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Gerasa: Colonnade of the oval plaza
The spacious plaza measures 90 x 80 m and is surrounded by a broad sidewalk and a colonnade of 1st century Ionic columns. There are 2 altars in the middle, and a fountain was added in the 7th century AD.
Gerasa is the best-preserved Palestinian city of Roman times. Gerasa first rose to importance as Antioch-on-the-Chrysorrhoas (Golden River) during Hellenistic and Roman times. Its location between Pella and Philadelphia ensured its continued prosperity as one of the cities of the Decapolis in Roman Syria. Captured by Alexander Jannaeus, king of Hasmonean dyansty in 83 BCE; was rebuilt by Romans in 65 CE. It flourished in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and was an important center in the development of Christianity. It was under Byzantine administration from ca. 330 to ca. 614. It was devastated by a major earthquake ca. 746.