Visitors to Jerash in July are in for a special treat, when the Jerash Festival transforms the ancient city into one of the World's liveliest and most spectacular cultural events. Two thousand years ago, the great urban trading cities of the Middle East were born when Middle Eastern and Western societies came together in a tremendous synthesis of commerce, art, and culture.
Their legacy shines today in the splendid cities of the Greco-Roman and Arab East, such as Petra, Jerash, Gadara, and Palmyra. The full power and glory of that ancient drama is revived in Jordan every summer in the form of the two-week Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts bringing together local folklore dancers and troupes from allover the World.
The Jerash Festival usually takes place during end of July and beginning of August. It showcases a wide array of singers, musical and folklore troupes, poetry readings, symphony orchestras, ballet, Shakespearean theater, handicrafts, and art shows. Special acts and exhibitions cater to children, making the festival an attractive destination for the entire family.
The colonnaded streets, plazas, and theaters of Jerash all provide unique venues for these acts, under the balmy summer skies of central Jordan. While performances take place in the different arenas, thousands of visitors also enjoy strolling through the ancient streets and monuments of the city, shopping for handicrafts, taking in art and book exhibitions, enjoying a casual meal, or simply absorbing the powerful drama of East and West meeting in a great cultural jamboree. Skilled craftsmen and women display Bedouin rugs, jewelry, embroidery, glass, wood, metal, and ceramicss, and also demonstrate on the spot how they create their wares.
Inaugurated in 1981 by Queen Noor Al-Hussein, the festival has become the premiere showcase for Jordanian performing artists, and an exciting meeting place for artists and the public at large from the four corners of the World. The setting of the ancient Greco-Roman City provides an unforgettable backdrop to this cultural carnival, with brilliant floodlights dramatically highlighting the colonnaded streets, public plazas, temple precincts, Byzantine churches, theaters, and other ancient monuments.
The Jerash Festival takes place during a traditionally quiet season for tourism in Jordan, making it easy to book hotel rooms and air travel at attractive prices. You can easily spend a week taking in the many offerings at the festival, which all take place in the evening from 5 to 11 pm, while enjoying Jordan's many other attractions during the daytime hours.