Umm al-Jimal – Mafraq

Umm al-Jimal – Mafraq

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Umm al-Jimal or Umm idj-Djimal, is a village in Northern Jordan approximately 17 kilometers east of Mafraq. It is primarily notable for the substantial ruins of a Byzantine and early Islamic town which are clearly visible above the ground, as well as an older Roman village (locally referred to as al- located to the southwest of the Byzantine ruins.
Umm el-Jimal is a large village located in northern Jordan less than 10 km from the Syrian border. It is located in the Hauran, the northern desert region of the country. Despite this aridity, Umm el-Jimal is surprisingly well suited for agriculture, and its livelihood and economy is largely derived from agricultural and pastoral sustenance. The ruins of an ancient village lie in the midst of modern Umm el-Jimal. The ruins date from the Nabataeanthrough the Abbasid periods. The earthquake of circa AD 749 did major damage, but the community survived well into the Abbasid period. In the early twentieth century the area was repopulated by the Druze and then theBedouin Msa’eid tribe.
The village of Umm el-Jimal originated in the first century AD as a rural suburb of the ancient Nabataean capital of Bostra. A number of Greek and Nabataean inscriptions found on the site date the village to this time. During the first century, the population of the site is estimated at 2,000-3,000 people. Upon the foundation of Provincia Arabia in AD 106, the Romans took over the village as Emperor Trajan incorporated the surrounding lands into the empire. In the village, the Romans erected a number of buildings including the Praetorium and the large reservoir near the castellum. After the Rebellion of Queen Zenobia in 275, Roman countermeasures included the construction of a fort (Tetrarchic castellum) that housed a military garrison. As Roman influence in the area gradually diminished, the area once again became a rural village. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Umm el-Jimal prospered as a farming and trading town in which the population jumped to an estimated 4,000-6,000 people. However, after the Muslim conquests of the 7th century, the village population diminished even though building projects and renovations continued to take place. In circa 749, an earthquake destroyed much of the area and Umm el-Jimal was abandoned like other towns and villages. The village remained uninhabited for nearly eleven hundred years until the modern community developed in the twentieth century.

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