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Asia > Middle East > Jordan > Northern Jordan > Pella (Jordan)

Pella is a town in Northern Jordan.


Pella (known in Arabic as Tabaqat Fahl (طبقة فحل)) is a village and the site of ancient ruins in northwestern Jordan, some 130 km north of Amman in the Jordan River Valley. It is half an hour by car from Irbid, in the north of the country.

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The site has been continuously occupied since Neolithic times. First mentioned in the 19th century BC in Egyptian inscriptions, its name was Hellenised to Pella, perhaps to honour Alexander the Great's birthplace. The Roman city, of which some spectacular ruins remain, supplanted the Hellenistic city. During this period Pella was one of the cities making up the Decapolis. The Decapolis were twelve (despite the name) cities in Israel, Jordan and southern Syria which were centres of Greco-Roman culture. The city was the site of one of Christianity's earliest churches. According to Eusebius of Caesarea it was a refuge for Jerusalem Christians in the 1st century AD who were fleeing the Great Jewish Revolt.

The city was destroyed by the Golan earthquake of 749. A small village remains in the area. Only small portions of the ruins have been excavated.

The University of Sydney and the Jordanian Department of Antiquities have been conducting excavations at Pella since 1979. The focus has been on the site's Bronze Age and Iron Age temples and administrative buildings which were first exposed in 1994.

Just below the ancient site is a mosque which commemorates the death of one of the Companions of the Prophet Mohammed, who fell in battle here during the Battle of Fahl in January 635 CE.







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