The Byzantine era saw a revitalization of Pella, as trade routes strengthened and local industries developed. Approximately 25,000 people lived in or near Pella during the late fifth century CE. The Byzantine armies were defeated by the Arab armies at the Battle of Yarmouk in 636 CE, and Islam soon became the dominant religious and cultural influence throughout the land. Pella —which received the Arabic name of Fahl—continued to prosper under Islamic Umayyad rule, until the great earthquake of 747 CE brought much of the city crashing down. Even then, archeological evidence indicates that the city remained inhabited on a modest scale. The Mamluks occupied it in the 13th and 14th centuries, but then the city was virtually abandoned for five centuries. Today, Pella is gradually being unearthed by teams of American and Australian archaeologists.
As you climb up the steep wadi, you will notice to your left three columns which mark the spot of the sixth-century West Church. Continuing along, there are the remains of a 14th century Mamluk mosque and a graveyard. Off to the left is an immense water tank, built by the Byzantines to hold 300,000 liters of water. You then approach the main ruins, which consist of houses, shops, store houses and other staple constructions of city life. Below on the right lies an assortment of Byzantine and Roman public buildings.
Sitting on the stream bed, or Wadi Jirm, is a first century CE Roman odeon, or theater. Next to this are the ruins of a large Byzantine church, built in the sixth and seventh centuries on top of a Roman shrine. The remains of Roman baths are also visible in this area. Perched up on the east, on a natural balcony overlooking the valley, is the East Church, erected during the late fifth century CE. To the south is Tel Husn, on top of which was a Byzantine fortress.
Pella is located 30 kilometers north of Deir Alla on the Jordan Valley Road. From Amman, it is a 95 kilometer drive. To reach the site from the main road at the city of al-Mashari’a, hike two kilometers up the path to the east of the road.