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Syria Map & Cities

 
SAINT SIMEON (QALAT SAMAAN):

This is the site where St. Simeon lived on top of a pillar for fourty-two years. Fourty-two years under the blazing sun, in the bitter cold, and exposed to all the mountain winds! He is s shepherd from Northern Syria who became a monk as the result of a revelation in a dream. There is only a stump of the column left, some two or three meters high. Shortly after the death of the holy man the most beautiful church in the East was built on the ridge of the hill where he had taken up "residence". The lay-out, centering on the famous column, was original. Four basilicas, arranged in the shape of a cross, opened onto a sort of octagon covered by a dome; in the center stood the sacred pillar. This Citadel offers a view of some of the 300 dead towns of the Byzantine era of Northern Syria.

  Saint Simeon
Saint Simeon
 
SALADIN CASTLE (SAHYOUN):

This castle was recognized as a masterpiece of military architecture, and defended by the Knights Hospitaller, was considered impregnable. During the 14th century it was still in good order, a powerful citadel controlling one of the passages between the sea and the Orontes valley and an advance defense port for Antioch.

Saladin Castle
Saladin Castle
  Near the entrance there is a stairway on the outside of the tower which leads up to a rampart walk and to the upper level of the castle. The layout of the whole citadel can be grasped from there. This citadel - the Byzantine Sahyoun, the Frankish Castle of Saone and the Arab qaalat now dedicated to Saladin - played its part in Syria's history under three different and competing authorities, over three successive centuries.
 
SAYDNAYA:

The town ship of Saydnaya is spread out over a hillside. It has grown up around an important convent which has been famous throughout the Christian East, ever since its foundation in 547. Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin attributed to Saint Luke the Evangelist. The chapel is open for tourists. A forgotten verse from the "Book of Exodus", over the entrance, recalls a commandment lost in the Catholic Church but still current in Islam : "Put thy shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground".

  Saydnaya
Saydnaya
 
Shahba
Shahba
  SHAHBA (PHILIPPOPOLIS):

From 232 to 237, an Arab from Syria reigned in Rome. He was a native of Shahba, an insignificant little township. During his short reign, he found time to do favor to his home town, which took the name of Philippopolis. The town was rebuilt in the Roman manner : square walls, two main thorough fares with a tetrapylon (monument composed of our pilasters) standing at the point where they crossed in the middle, building in a uniform style : palace, theater, thermae and a temple erected by the Emperor to the memory of his father.

 
SUWAYDA:

Suwayda is situated in the tip of Syria where it is black basalt country. The eruptive rocks that litter the ground give the landscape a very special appearance : black are the stones, black the monuments, black also are the sculptures and the ornaments. Cruder as pieces of art, but how much more strange, are the statues carved in the hard basalt : a representation of a Pantheon showing a mingling of Arab (Nabatean), Hellenistic (after the conquest of Alexander), and Byzantine (the town was the seat of a bishopric in the 5th century) influences. Dusares rubs shoulder with Athens and Venus; Nabatean inscriptions are found close to slabs bearing the cross of Christ. An eagle, wings spread (Nabatean deity), and small but aggressive female busts take on an extraordinary force when carved in the reddish rock.

 
TARTUS (TORTOSA):

The great period in the history of this city, as Phoenician port on the mainland, occurred in Byzantine times. The name became "Tortosa". Crowds of Christians used to come here on pilgrimage to pray in a chapel which was said to have been dedicated to the Virgin Mary by Saint Peter, when the Father of the Apostles was in his way from Jerusalem to Antioch. Muslim, then Byzantine again around the year 1000, Tortosa was to become one of the main supply ports fore the Crusades and a military base of considerable importance, held by the Templars. In 1188, Salah Eddin reconquered the town, but could not capture the keep, surrounded as it was by a broad ditch, equipped with advanced engines of war and defended by the best Knights of Order. Tortosa was to remain in the hands of the Franks until 1291.

 
THAURA (AL):

Al-Thaura is the capital of the Dam. The Dam is the Lake Al-Assad : 80 kilometers long, 12 billion cubic meters of water, and the hydroelectric power-station : 800,000 tomorrow; and 60,000 hectares of agricultural land brought under cultivation. The Dam means the whole social life of the people of the Euphrates Basin, which is destined to undergo the most sweeping changes in less than a generation

 
UGARIT:

In Ugarit the invention of the first written Alphabet took place. This alphabet is recognized as dating from the 14th century BC carried by the Phoenicians, the alphabet was to be adopted by the Greeks, the Etruscans and the Romans, and it is this alphabet which is used today by a large number of the people of the world.

  Ugarit
Ugarit
Ugarit
Ugarit
  The golden age of Ugarit came between the 16th and the 17th century BC The town was in constant relation with Egypt, Cyprus, the islands in the Aegean Sea, Mycenae ... etc. The royal palace consisted of ninety rooms laid out around eight inner courtyards. Thousands of engraved tablets were collected in the archives, in two private libraries and in two religious libraries.
 
ZABADANI:

The most famous resort outside Damascus, some 40 kilometers away from the capital. Zabadani, its houses widely scattered over the country-side, stands in the center of a broad valley dominated by high ridges. Poplar everywhere sing in thewind. Everywhere fruit trees, vegetable plots and gardens flourish. Small detached houses, looking gay in their brightly colored coats of pebble-dash, lie scattered on the slopes up to an altitude of about 1,500 meters, where the greenery gives place to orange-colored rock.

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