Meshquita; treasure trove of sparkling springs and lush forests

Lattakia is known as the bride of the Mediterranean, and sees a steady stream of tourists from inside and outside Syria, who are attracted to it because of its rich terrain and natural beauty. When you look over Lattakia from above, you cannot take your eyes off the amazing scenery - from the shining blue sea, the majestic mountains or the hills and valleys scattered around like clouds. Now more intrepid tourists are discovering the relatively unexplored city of Meshquita, which is towards the north east of Latakia, and where ever more breathtaking scenery awaits you as you make your way through green mountains that descend into hillside embracing the North big river.

The word ‘Meshquita’ is originally Syriac, and means irrigated land. True to its name, the region is blessed with water and fresh abundant springs, and the beautiful and magical lakes add to the spectacular landscape. The picturesque villages in the area add a certain elegance, which makes it the focus of attention of many beauty lovers, particularly artists. The area has been a source of inspiration for a number of art works and dramatical productions, which perhaps have added an element of familiarity to the area for many Syrian TV viewers!

Meshquita rises about 256m above sea level with a population of approximately 8,500 people. Everywhere the visitor goes, they will be warmly welcomed by the generous and gentle local residents. The locals depend on agriculture for their livelihood, and the abundant water supply in the area is a huge advantage. The most famous crops in the region are undoubtedly olives and citrus fruits. In addition, there is also a thriving carpentry trade. Meshquita is surrounded by other small villages, which are also evolving, particularly in the field of tourism.

The area as a whole is like a bridge between the glorious past and shining present. Take for example the noble and unique historical site of Ugarit, which is only a short drive away and is completely breathtaking. It was here that the first alphabet in the history of mankind was born. There is a symmetrical beauty to the area, which is becoming more easily accessible to the modern tourist, as evidenced by the hundreds of visitors who come to the area throughout the year. Facilities include three modern hotels, a lively and bustling market and a number of popular restaurants. Visitors can enjoy the secluded glory of the pine and oak forests; amongst which the most famous is undoubtedly Sheikh Ayub – whose connection to the Prophet Noah gives the area a religious significance as well.

Meshquita is indeed an undiscovered jewel on the Syrian coastline, and a little corner of paradise on earth.

 

Haifaa Mafalani

 

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