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Gadara: The capital of the Roman province of Peraea. It stood on the summit of
a mountain about 6 miles south-east of the Sea of Galilee. Mark
(Mark 5:1) and Luke
(Luke 8:26-39) describe the miracle of the healing of
the demoniac (Matthew
(Matthew 8:28-34) says two demoniacs) as having been
wrought "in the country of the Gadarenes," thus describing the scene
generally. The miracle could not have been wrought at Gadara itself,
for between the lake and this town there is the deep, almost
impassable ravine of the Hieromax (Jarmuk). It is identified with the
modern village of Um-Keis, which is surrounded by very extensive
ruins, all bearing testimony to the splendour of ancient Gadara. "The
most interesting remains of Gadara are its tombs, which dot the
cliffs for a considerable distance round the city, chiefly on the
north-east declivity; but many beautifully sculptured sarcophagi are
scattered over the surrounding heights. They are excavated in the
limestone rock, and consist of chambers of various dimensions, some
more than 20 feet square, with recesses in the sides for bodies.
The present inhabitants of Um-Keis are all troglodytes, 'dwelling in
tombs,' like the poor maniacs of old, and occasionally they are almost
as dangerous to unprotected travellers."