PELLA (طبقة فحل)

We took a scenic drive from Umm Qais to Pella, near the modern Arab village of Taqabat Fahl. It was one of the cities of the fabled Roman Decapolis. It’s essential to archaeologists because it reveals evidence of 6000 years of continuous settlement. Many of the ruins are spread out, and a bit of imagination is required to get the most from the site, but the superb setting just above the Jordan Valley can be rewarding enough, particularly when the land blooms in spring.

The strategic position close to numerous water sources springs from the Wadi Jirm el-Moz made it an ideal settlement area over the centuries. Cited in Egyptian texts under the name of Pehel Fahl, the Greeks renamed Pella in 310 BC. The name Pella was chosen to honor the name of the Macedonian city that gave birth to Alexander the Great. During Greek rule, Pella was a prosperous city famous for its ceramic trade.

Pella was conquered by Pompey in 63 BC and became one of the cities that formed the Roman Decapolis League. The Decapolis League comprised ten cities in the Levant that the Roman Empire claimed. Due to its prime location on the trade route, the Romans likely recognized it.

It remained an important commercial center during the Byzantine era under the Umayyad dynasty, but the devastating earthquakes that destroyed the region in 746 AD marked its inevitable decline. Abandoned for centuries, it was only studied and turned into an important archaeological site in the 1970s after excavations by a group of American and Australian archaeologists.

Parking location – Taqabat Fahl: 32.450991N 35.617467E (🚻)