Al-Heet Town,a Unique Archaeological site

Al-Heet Town, about 13 kilometers northeast of Shahba city in Swaida, is full of unique archaeological sites  dating back to more than two thousand years. These sites narrate the region's history, the ancient civilization and religious systems prevailed in different periods.

" Most prominent monuments in the village, which were known in the past as Eta, is al-Qaser(the palace) which is a three-storey huge building on a shape of U letter around a courtyard with underground floors. A large number of crosses are engraved on doors and arches." Director of Swaida Antiquities Department Hussein Zeineddin said.

He added that about 100 meters away from the palace, there are the southern church with walls contain seven inscriptions painted on reused stones, and the eastern Church as well.

Zeineddin said the village also embraces huge archaeological dwellings in the northwestern of the town which extends over 1512 square meters.

 

Maysa Wassouf

 

 

 

 

Wadi al-Oyoun Waterfalls: Attractive tourist site beautifully ornamented with green algae

 

Located in the heart of a fascinating nature and close to human habitation areas, Wadi al-Oyoun (springs valley) waterfalls site is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in al-Sheikh Badr city of Tartous.

Walking, exploration and vacation lovers target the city of al-Sheikh Badr, the land of water and beauty, to enjoy the wonderful waterfalls scenery and the sound of fresh water falling and flowing among the rocks with the green carpet-like algae growing attractively on stairs-like rocks around the waterfalls.

 Only few people know about Wadi al-Oyoun waterfalls which are called so by some people, because of their proximity to the area of Wadi al-Oyoun. Some others call them the “Umbrella” waterfalls or the “Green Hat” waterfalls due to the natural erosion which contributed to forming shapes that resemble things we use in our daily life.

“What I like most is the pure water which resembles a bride dressed in bright white,” a persistent visitor said.

 The Syrian Countryside is very rich of attractive waterfalls, but, something special makes Wadi-Al-Oyoun waterfalls unique and different. It is the fact that they can be approached and anyone can touch the water, enjoy playing with water or even climb to the top without fearing to fall.

 What makes them more charming is the beautiful algae covering even the stones lying away from the waterfalls and adding smoothness to the rocks of the place.

 The most beautiful part of those waterfalls is the one designed by nature itself due to natural accumulations and collapses which later formed a very beautiful green umbrella of grasses and rocks.

Colors in this site are mixed and united to appear like pearls and sometimes like corals and white gold. In Spring these colorful gems become diverse as various kinds of flowers and plants bloom around those waterfalls.

 

Amal Farhat

 

Mari, Redraw The Map Of The Ancient World

 

Mari was discovered in 1933, on the eastern flank of Syria, near the Iraqi border. A Bedouin tribe was digging through a mound for a gravestone that would be used for a recently deceased tribesman, when they came across a headless statue.

Mari has been excavated in annual campaigns published in Syria, 1933–39, 1951–75. The 21 seasons up to 1975 were led by Andre Parrot. Less than half of the 1000 x 600-meter area of Mari has been uncovered as of 2005. Although archaeologists have tried to determine how many layers the site descends, it has not proved possible as of 2008. According to the archaeologist André Parrot, "each time a vertical probe was commenced in order to trace the site's history down to virgin soil, such important discoveries were made that horizontal digging had to be resumed."

The Mari Tablets belong to a large group of tablets . More than 25,000 tablets in Akkadian were found in the Mari archives, which give information about the kingdom of Mari, its customs, and the names of people who lived during that time. More than 8,000 are letters; the remainder includes administrative, economic, and judicial texts. The tablets, according to Andre Parrot, "brought about a complete revision of the historical dating of the ancient Near East and provided more than 500 new place names, enough to redraw or even draw up the geographical map of the ancient world."[  Almost all of the tablets found were dated to the last 50 years of Mari's independence, and most have now been published. The language of the texts is official Akkadian .

 Mari had been inhabited since the 5th millennium BC, but the real significance of the city was during the third and second millennia BC.

The city flourished from about 2900 BC, since it was strategically important as a relay point between the Sumerian cities of lower Mesopotamia, and the cities of northern Syria. Sumer required building materials such as timber and stone from northern Syria, and these materials had to go through Mari to get to Sumer.

After a period of eminence, Mari was destroyed in the mid-24th century BC. This destruction brought a period of relative decline in importance in the region, and the city was reduced to no more than a small village. Historians are divided as to who destroyed the city.

The status of the city was revived again under an Amorite dynasty.   The royal palace of Zimri-Lim, a king of Mari, contained over 300 rooms. The palace was possibly the largest of its time, and its reputation in neighboring cities and kingdoms was well-known. The state archives were also built during this time.

Mari was destroyed again around 1759 BC by Hammurabii, sixth king of Babylon. This is known from the numerous state archives tablets that recount Hammurabi turning on his old ally Zimrilim, and defeating him in battle. After this destruction, it was inhabited sporadically by Assyrians and Babylonians .

The growth of the city from a small village to an important trading center was due to its diverse economy in the ancient world. The city came to control the trade lanes between different regions such as western Iran, Mesopotamia and parts of  Anatolia. Cities that Mari is confirmed to have traded with include Ur, Aleppo, and Ugarit. The cargo brought through the city grew to include dates, olives, pottery, grains and stone.

 

Maysa Wassouf

 

 

 

Damascus Names and Titles throughout History

 Throughout its long history, Damascus city had more than one name . In  their book, " Damascus Historical Landmarks", researchers Ahmad Ibish and Qutaiba Shehabi, mentioned a historical overview of the history of Damascus city and renamed reason. Among the several  names of Damascus mentioned by the researchers are:

Head of Aram  Countries,  as it is set out  in the Aramic Testament.

The city of Aramean Naaman Leper.

House of Rimmon, it is called so in  a proportion to its altar which is attributed to Rimmon Allodi.

The "Pleasing Village", this is one of its titles  mentioned in the Aramic testament.

The City of Lazarus, it is a proportion to the servant of the prophet Ibrahim.

Gelq.

Jeroen or Jeroen fort.

Dimitrias; which is the name of the Greek community affiliated to the city.

The Eye of East; it was called so by the Roman Emperor You  Lianos.

Al-Sham; which is the synonymous name of Damascus over the ages.

Sham Sharif; this title was launched by Ottoman Turks aiming at honoring Damascus.

Iram of the Pillars; it is named so for the large number of  columns in Damascus. They said also it is the city, Iram of the Pillars, which is mentioned in the Quran.

Virgin; this name is related to Virgin Mary.

Reed of Al-Sham; this title was used by a number of Muslims historians and geographers.

Marquee Muslims ; this title means the resort and sanctuary.

The Door of Kaaba; this title was given to Damascus in the heart of Islam.

The Paradise Land ; it was called so in several eras.

Fayhaa; is one of the most popular titles given to Damascus. It is called so because of its widespread green plains.

Amal Farhat

 

As'ad Pasha,finest khans of Damascus

 

Khan As'ad Pasha is the largest khan in the Old City of Damascus, covering an area of 2,500 square meters (27,000 sq.ft.). Situated along Al-Buzuriyah Souq, it was built and named after As'ad Pasha al-Azm, the governor of Damascus, in 1751-52. Khan As'ad Pasha has been described as one of the finest khans of Damascus, and the most "ambitious" work of architecture in the city.

The building follows a typical khan layout with two floors giving onto a central courtyard. Khan As'ad Pasha is entered from souq al-Buzuriyyah, through a monumental gateway decorated with stone carvings and roofed by a muqarnas semi-dome. The entrance leads to a square-shaped courtyard with old shops on the ground floor. The second floor, accessible by a staircase located to the right of the main entrance, was used mainly for lodging and has eighty rooms arranged along a gallery facing the courtyard.

The space of the central courtyard is divided into nine equal square modules, where each module is covered with a dome raised on a drum pierced with twenty windows. The domes are supported by pendent that transfer the load onto four piers and to the courtyard walls. An octagonal marble fountain occupies the center of the courtyard below the central dome. Each of the four courtyard walls has three doorways on the ground floor, flanked by two rectangular windows. The symmetry is maintained on the second floor where each gallery façade has three archways flanked by two smaller ones. The khan is built of alternating courses of basalt and limestone.

 Three of the courtyard domes were destroyed in an earthquake in 1758. The openings were covered with wooden planks until 1990 when the khan was restored and the domes rebuilt. At the beginning of the 20th century, Khan As'ad Pasha was no longer used for commercial purposes. Until its restoration in 1990, it was used for manufacturing and storage. Today, it is designated as a tourist site and hosts the Natural History Museum of Damascus.

 

Raghda Sawas