Information about Irbid

Location: Jordan

Irbid (Arabic: إربد‎), known in ancient times as Arabella or Arbela , is the capital and largest city of the Irbid Governorate. It also has the second largest metropolitan population in Jordan after Amman, with a population of around 660,000, and is located about 70 km north of Amman on the northern ridge of the Gilead, equidistant from Pella, Beit Ras (Capitolias), and Umm Qais.

Irbid is nicknamed as 'Arus AlShamaal (Arabic:عروس الشمال)(Bride of the North) because of its beauty and its location in the north of Jordan.
The city of Irbid is the third largest city in Jordan by population (after Amman and Zarqa). Metropolitan Irbid is the second largest. Irbid Governorate, which includes the city of Irbid and surrounding cities and villages, has the second largest population, and the highest population density in the kingdom.

The city is a major ground transportation hub between Amman, Syria to the north, and Mafraq to the east.
The Irbid region is also home to several colleges and universities, the two most prominent being Jordan University of Science and Technology and Yarmouk University.

Artifacts and graves in the area show that Irbid has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. In the Hellenistic period, it was a major trade center and the birthplace of Nittai of Arbela. Before the advent of Islam, the city was known as Arabella and was famous for producing some of the best wines in the ancient world. The area in the region had extremely fertile soil and moderate climate, allowing the growing of high quality grapes.

After the muslim conquests, it came under the rule of the muslim Empire, the city became known as Irbid, and shifted from wine to olive oil production. Wheat was also an important product in the area.

Irbid is notable for being close to the site of the decisive Battle of Yarmouk, fought along the banks of the Yarmouk River roughly 30 kilometres north of the city. The battle was waged between the Islamic Caliphate led by Umar and the Byzantine Empire. It set the stage for the departure of Byzantine armies from Greater Syria and the beginning of the expansion of the Islamic Caliphate.

Irbid today combines the bustle of a provincial Middle Eastern town and the youthful nightlife of a typical college town. University Street, which defines the western border of the Yarmouk University campus, is popular with locals as well as with the occasional foreign visitors who stop to relax in any of its numerous restaurants and cafés.

Though not usually a major tourist destination itself, Irbid is home to two notable museums: the Museum of Jordanian Heritage and the Jordan Natural History Museum, both on the campus of Yarmouk University. Furthermore, Irbid's strategic location in northern Jordan makes it a convenient starting point for tourists interested in seeing the northern Jordan Valley; visiting Umm Qais, Beit Ras (Capitolias), Pella, Ajloun, Umm el-Jimal, and other historical sites; or traveling on to Syria.