Forty minutes north of Ajloun (88 kilometers from Amman), the bustling city of Irbid is an excellent staging point for excursions to Umm Qais, Pella and other sites in northern Jordan.
Irbid’s importance as a trading center with Haifa ended in 1948, but in recent years it has gained importance as the industrial center and administrative capital of the north. The city has a good selection of restaurants, a number of banks and hotels, and the campus of Yarmouk University.
Artifacts and graves in the area show that Irbidhas been inhabited since the Bronze Age. Scholars have debated whether Irbid is the biblical site of Beth Arbel, or Beit Arbil in Arabic. Under Roman rule, the city was renamed Arbila.
While most of this heritage is hidden beneath the new city of Irbid, there are two excellent museums located within Yarmouk University. The Museum of Jordanian Heritage is considered the finest archeological museum in the country, while the Natural History Museumis also worth a visit. Both museums are open from 10:00-17:00 in winter (15:00 in summer) every day except Tuesday.