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Syria Map & Cities

 
Maaloula
Maaloula
  MAALOULA:

Maaloula, 56 kilometers from Damascus, is a village hewn out of the rock. Besides possessing two old convents (Saint Thecleand Saint Serge), Malloula is remarkable for the fact that a Syrian dialect called "Aramean" is spoken there; this was the language spoken by Christ. The honeycomb village of Maaloula, some of its "cells" have been daubed with blue plasters for hundred of years. The Monastery of St. Thelca, who was disciple of St. Paul, contains the remains of the Saint's body.

  Maaloula
Maaloula
 
MARI:

One of the most important cities in the ancient world of the western bank of the Euphrates. In the temple of Mari, dating from the third millennium before Christ, dedicated to Ishtar (the principal goddess of the Assyro-Babylonian pantheon), some thirty statuettes were recovered, amongst the one of a king: Longi Mari.

Mari
Mari
 

The most important discovery in Mari is that of the palace of Zimri-Lim, king of Mari from 1782 to 1759 BC, a dwelling consisting of some three hundred rooms, courtyards, stores and containing above all a library stacked with twenty thousand cuneiform tablets. Underneath the Royal Palace of Zimri-Liman other palace was discovered dating back to the first half of the 3rd millennium 2350 BC Even deeper two royal residences have been founded dating back to the 3rd millennium.

 
MARQAB:

In Marqab there is a huge glowering fortress situated on a top of a hill with terraced gardens on its slopes. It is enormous : there are no less than fourteen square and round towers jutting from the curtain wall that encircles the hilltop to form a triangular bastion. Its southern corner, sharper than the others and bristling with defense, has a keep rising above it like the prow of some great ship. Glowering : from the massing of these great blank walls which looks as if they are good for a few centuries yet, but glowering above all because of the funeral black basalt stone of which it is built. The outline of the fortress follows the convex line of the hillside just here and one has an excellent view of the best preserved and strongest section of the castle's defenses. After the capture of the Crac des Chevaliers in 1270 AD, the Crusaders surrendered Marqab to Sultan Qualon in 1285 AD.

 
Almarqab Castle
 
PALMYRA:

The ruins of Palmyra are impressive both by their extent and by their remarkable state of preservation. The ancient Arabcity is gradually being restored in all its grandeur. The majestic site of this city, was cited in the 2nd millennium BC, Capppodocian and Akkadian inscriptions. Some of the discoveries are - the agora, the theater, the baths, the Temple of Nabo and the great Temple of Bel, one of the finest monuments in all the East.

  Palmyra
Palmyra - VIEW IT ON MAP
The inhabitants of Palmyra had used the Temple as the center of their village and a whole new settlement had to be built for them outside the village walls. Palmyra is one of those exceptional places where art and history have fused to produce a synthesis that will dazzle succeeding generations. This remarkable site in the center of the Syrian desert became a necessary stopping-place for caravans taking the shortest route from the Arabia Gulf to the Mediterranean, as well as for those taking the Silk Route and crossing the Tigris near Seleucisin Babylon. "Tadmor" is mentioned on tablets dating from the 19th century BC From the end of the second millennium Aramean was the language spoken there, this language persisted until the Byzantine period. At the end of 267, Zenobia became a monarch of the city. She expanded the city to be a great kingdom in an open defiance of Rome. In the autumn of 274 Zenobia was taken prisoner to Rome where she was forced to ride in Aurelian's "Triumph" and Palmyra never recovered her position.
Palmyra Palmyra
Palmyra - VIEW IT ON MAP
 

QALB LOZA:

he architectural quality and beautiful decoration of Qalb Loza are present even in the smaller details. Thus the small windows of the upper storey of the nave have square openings but, on the outside, a finely-cut double fluting prolongs these square frames in graceful half-circles. Such simple and delicate touches relieve any coarseness that a building built of such a big block of stone (the roof blocks are five meters long) might otherwise have. The basilica at Qalb Loza isn't a cathedral. Its powerful, somewhat square shape gives it more the appearance of a large country church. But in this wild solitary setting it seems like a challenge. With its three big rounded arches at the front, its apse behind, it has survived twelve or thirteen centuries of oblivision.

 
QANAWAT:

The monuments at Qanawat are the most impressive and richly decorated in the region of Jebel Al-Arab where so many ancient stones are strewn on the ground or built into the fabric of present day dwellings, or else soar up sometimes as haughty columns, all cracked and broken, and yet superb! The site where Qanawat stands enhances the interest of the ruins. It is mentioned in the Old Testaments as to be known as "Noba" or "kanat". In 60 BC Qanawat was one of the Roman barracks. The most fancy ruins of Qanawat is the Temple of "Zeus", dates back to 2nd century AD The second amazing site is the temple of the God of Sun "Helios". The theater "Audion", the temple of the "Nymphet" and the Agora are not less exciting than the other things to be seen in Qanawat.

  Qanawat
Qanawat
 
Raqqa
Raqqa
  RAQQA::

Originally built by Alexander the Great, who called the site "Nicephorion", but nothing remained of it or of the "callinicos" of the Roman. As the Persians several times fought the Byzantines here, nothing has become down to us of Christian Raqqa. In 722, the Abbassid Caliph Al-Mansour founded a new city, "Al-Rafika", which quickly eclipsed ancient Raqqa, but in the 18th century, the Mongols laid waste the rich city. Raqqa is most famous as the summer resort of the Caliph Harun Ar-Rashid, of the Thousand and One Nights, who built his magnificent palace here, still standing today.

One must visit the marvelous Baghdad Gate, the impressive city walls, the Mosque of Nur Eddin built in 1166, AD, and the new Raqqa Museum.

  Raqqa
Raqqa
 
RASAFA:

onsidered by many archaeologists to be the most beautiful place in the Syrian desert, Rasafa was cited in the Assyrian texts and in the Bible. After 305 AD, Rasafa was called "Sergiopolis" after Saint Sergius, a Roman officer stationed on the Euphrates, who died for refusing to deny Christ, under Diocletian.

Rasafa
Rasafa
 

When Islam had overcome Christianity, one of the first Caliphs, the Umayaad Hisham, came to live in Rasafa, after he had had palatial summer residences built there, which in their riches were compared with the palaces of Baghdad. But less than six years after his death in 743, the Abbasides desecrated the sepulcher of their brother enemy and destroyed every one of the buildings and the monuments he had erected. The actual site is huge. The remains of the thick walls, the Baptistery, basilicas, the enormous water cistern and an Umayaad Palace provide a fascinating sight.

 
SAFITA:

Safita of today stands on a fortress, which was surrounded by a double wall, the first of them almost perfectly oval in shape. It is therefore no surprise as you walk about the streets to come upon some vestiges of medieval architecture.

  Safita
Safita

The keep, 28 meters high, is a two-storey structure: on the ground floor, a fortified church; above it, a large room 26 meters by 132 divided into two parts by a line of three pillars. One exceptional point worthy of note : the castle chapel has never been deconsecrated or converted into a mosque : the majority of the population have been remained Christians of Greek Orthodox faith and nowadays services are still held there.

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