Qalaat Maniqa (Qalaat al-Maniqa قلعة المنيقة )

Little remains within the enclosure of this Ismaeli castle taken from the Crusaders by Rashid al-Din Sinan (‘the Old Man of the Mountain’ of Crusader legends) after 1160. Externally, the circuit walls survive in part on the northeast and northwest. For description, Monuments of Syria (third edition, I B Tauris, London 2009), page 231.  منشآت […]

Hama حماة

Hama in Central Syria lies on the banks of the Orontes River. Once its huge waterwheels (of which around 16 survive, most in working order) lifted water from the river to feed the town and the irrigated fields around. Today the river level fluctuates, often falling below the level needed to drive the vanes of […]

Latakia اللاذقية (ancient Laodicea)

Modern Latakia (a simplified version of the Arabic place name, al-Lādhiqiyyah) lies on the Syrian coast and serves today as one of the country’s principal ports.In terms of classical remains, the most important structures are the four-way gateway which lies preserved on the western edge of the main ‘downtown’ area and sections of colonnading of […]

Mushabbak المشبك

A small wayside church, five kilometres to the west of the Monastery of St Simeon. This is one of the most perfectly preserved Byzantine churches in Syria. It lacks only a roof and internal fittings to be complete. It was not located in an inhabited area and probably served as a chapel for pilgrims on […]

Dera`a درعا , ancient Adraha

The modern town of Dera`a (Deraa), lies on the Syrian side of the Jordanian/Syrian border, with a Bronze Age citadel hill lying above the ravine of the Wadi Zedi, a tributary of the River Yarmuk. The classical city of Adraha lay to the south of the grid-plan Ottoman town and is marked by a number […]

Qalaat Jaabr قلعة جعبر

Perhaps the most striking aspect of this Islamic fortified site is its location, today perched on an island connected to the north bank of the Euphrates Lake by a bridge. Not much remains of the castle’s interior beyond the round minaret from its mosque, but the circuit walls clearly show the typical fortified plan of the […]

Homs حمص

Homs lies 165 km to the north of Damascus and is an important hub on the country’s transport systems. It lies on the Orontes River though the stream plays little role in the urban landscape. A city with a long history reaching back to Roman times, the visitor will not be immediately struck by the […]