History

Irbid was distinguished by the Greek, Roman and Islamic civilizations leaving behind them historical and archaeological sites. Roman and Greek cities such as Arabella (Irbid), Capitolias (Beit–Ras), Dion (Al Hisn) that contains the Roman artificial hill and small Roman lake (water reservoir), Gadara (Umm Qais), Pella (Tabeqt Fahel) and Abello (Qwailbeh) were established. They were members of the Decapolis: a pact that consists of the ten Roman cities in the area. Ghassanids had established their country in the north of Jordan covering Irbid, Golan and Horan plains. It was described as the most beautiful Syrian countries. Also it had the Islamic soldiers’ supplies. Christianity spread out there in the second and the third century A.D.

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The city of Um Qais (Gadara)

Irbid witnessed the Edomite and Ammonite civilizations. Its significance was reflected in the Hellenistic period. With the conversion work of Islam, the Islamic opening armies achieved an advance. As a result, Sharhabeel Bin Hasnaa made a glorious Islamic victory in 13 A.H (634 A.D.). He opened Irbid, Beit-Ras and Umm Qais. The Islamic leader Abu Obideh Amer Bin Al-Jarrah was able to open Pella. In 15 A.H. (636 A.D.) and in the prime of these victories, Khalid Bin Al-Walid managed to crush out the Roman armies in the long Battle of Yarmouk. Consequently, he managed to put an end to the Roman presence in the area. In 583 A.H (1187 A.D.) Saladin’s armies advanced to Hittin in which the most ferocious battle in the history of the Crusades took place, This battle was followed by recapturing Jerusalem and returning it back to the Islamic sovereignty.

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An Australian excavation team in the ancient Roman city of Pella

During the Mamluk period, Irbid played an important role as a stopping point for the pilgrims’ caravans coming from Turkey, north of Iraq and south of Russia. It was an important communication hub and a gateway to Egypt, Hijaz and Palestine coast, especially during the time in which Irbid was linked with Damascus, which had a positive effect on the cultural and scientific movement of Irbid, as referred by historical writings. In addition to the spread of a number of scientists and Islamic jurisprudence scholars, the Islamic expansion left many graves of the companions of the prophet Muhammad, many mosques and Islamic buildings such as Dar Assaraya (the former prison) which has been converted into a museum, Hibras Mamluk Mosque, Irbid Mamluke Mosque and Saham Umayyed Mosque.