Leen Ritmeyer

Grand Hippos, as it once was. This artist’s rendition allows us to tour the Roman-era city as an ancient visitor might have. The visitor would likely have entered Hippos through the eastern gate (12, far right) after having come up on the road from the east (13) The western gate (1), at the opposite end of the city, was used primarily by locals who cultivated the mountain’s western terraces.

The visitor could next walk down the Cardo (11), or main street, which bisected the entire length of Hippos from east to west. Underfoot were large basalt flagstones; a roofed colonnade flanked each side of the Cardo. Numerous public buildings occupied the mountaintop. Shown here are a cathedral (9), four churches (4, 5, 6 and 10), a bathhouse (8), a nymphaeum or fountain building (7) and a theater (3). The relatively small size of the residential quarter (2) indicates that most of the inhabitants of Hippos lived in villages outside the city.

Pliny, the first-century A.D. Roman writer, called Hippos “a pleasant town.” He was a man evidently not given to hyperbole.