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Setting-up The Tourism Development Directorate

 

Within the framework of attaining further service,social, and economic benefits from the tourism sites, the Tourism Ministry recently established the Ttourism Development Directorate with the purpose of making contacts with the concerned sides whose task is making tourism development plans in general, and drawing the plan of local and regional development  in particular.

 In cooperation with experts from the culture ministry and the archaeology directorate,

The tourism development directorate worked out a draft law on setting-up the general commission of the culture heritage. The draft law aims at administrating, circulating and investing the archeological sites as well as observing the traditional crafts.

Due to the current crisis Syria is witnessing the tourism development directorate participated in preparing a study on the armed terrorist groups' acts of destroying the museums and the archeological sites.

The tourism development directorate exerted every possible efforts with the purpose of encouraging the people and the local society to be steadfast in protecting Syria's heritage and the archeological sites against the terrorists groups savage aggression.

The tourism development directorate is currently discussing plans of promoting the situation of  traditional crafts as well as means of increasing their activities in the tourism development sites.These plans aim at creating more job opportunities, attaining economic benefits for the local citizens as well as highlighting the deep-rooted of Syria's archeological sites.

 

Tell Ramad,Understanding the origin of agriculture

Tell Ramad is a prehistoric, Neolithic tell at the foot of Mount Hermon, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) southwest of Damascus. The tell was the site of a small village of 2 hectares (220,000 sq ft), which was first settled in the late eighth millennium.

The tell was discovered by French customs officers, M. Compant and Lieutenant Potut. Laurisson Ward visited Tell Ramad again in 1939 and collected material from the surface, now in the Peabody Museum. Tell Ramad lay somewhat forgotten until it was rediscovered by W.J. van Liere and Henri de Contenson, the latter leading excavations in 8 seasons between 1963 and 1973.

Notable features from the earliest stage include a number of 3–4 metre diameter, lime-plaster floored, clay lined oval pits with ovens & clay bins that were suggested to have been used as houses. There was nothing to suggest a break in occupation between level I and II of the site. Burial customs appear to have been unchanged between the two periods. Burials were mostly done in communal graves, with little deposits of grave goods. Different flint tools were found at the site in both periods, including sickles and arrowheads.

Tell Ramad is notable as one of the few sites fundamental to our understanding of the origin of agriculture with finds including various types of domesticated wheat and barley. Emmer wheat is an important characteristic of Basin sites in this area, where it is thought to have been introduced. Wild plant foods include pistachios, almonds, figs and wild pears. The mammal fauna from level I at Tell Ramad shows that both sheep and goats were fully and simultaneously domesticated at the site, although the sheep-to-goat ratio is more than 3 to 1.

Maysa Wassouf

 

Lattakia,Most Popular Tourist Destination

 Latakia,the beautiful coastal city of Syria, is one of the popular places in Syria that draws a large number of admirers from all across the globe. It is the main sea port of Syria on the Mediterranean. Latakia is a historical city that comprises one of the most popular tourist destinations in Syria. Latakia,  is one place that you should not miss under any circumstances. Latakia lies in the state of Syria and therefore it is well connected by all the major means of transport. Following are some of the interesting information about Latakia.

Latakia is located at 186 kilometers southwest of Aleppo. If you are traveling from the Syrian capital of Damascus, you need to travel 348 kilometers northwest. The city was and continues to be one of the most important cities in Syria. The first record of human settlement in the city dates back to the 1000 BC. In the wake of the Great conquest of Alexander, the city of Latakia rose to prominence. It was during this period that the city was renamed in honor of Loadicea, the mother of Seleucus I Nicator, the general of Alexander the Great.

During the 2nd century AD, Latakia was declared the capital of the country for a very short period by Septimius Severus. The city later developed into an important port and the main supplier of wine. The devastating earthquakes in 494 and 555 damaged the city and was rebuilt by Justinian. The Arab army invaded Latakia in 638 AD while the Crusaders recaptured the city in 1097. Saladin became the ruler of Latakia in 1188 AD.

The ruins of the ancient city are one of the most popular attractions in Latakia. Other than these remnants, there are a number of attractions that pull hoards of travelers to the city. The extensive sea shore present the vacationers with a number of spectacular beaches, distinguished by soft sand and unpolluted sea. The museum in Latakia is one of the major Latakia attractions. You can also opt for shopping a variety of things like pottery, glassware, clay tablets from nearby Ugarit.

Maysa Wassouf

 

The Norias of Hama in Syria

 

 

 

The mere mention of the name Hama, the Syrian town 140 km south of Aleppo, triggers images of giant waterwheels gently turning along the banks of a river. Most travelers drop in for a short visit on their way to Aleppo or Damascus.

The city of Hama, or Hamat (means citadel in Arabic) lies some 200 kilometers north of Damascus and boasts with a long history dating back to 2000 BC. The giant wheels (nawaeer) were built by the Byzantines and have been used to lift water from the Orontes river (nahr el-Assi) onto nearby land, orchards and houses. Today, they stand as prominent historical and ancient landmarks that add a decorative touch with restaurants and cafés that line up the town’s riverside.

The Norias of Hama  are a number of norias ("wheels of pots") along the Orontes River in the city of Hama, Syria. Only seventeen of the original norias remain. They are mostly unused now and serve an aesthetic purpose. They were called "the most splendid norias ever constructed." The norias of Hama were submitted as a tentative World Heritage Site by the Syrian Arab Republic in June 1999.

 History

The earliest evidence for norias in Hama suggests they were developed during the Byzantine era, although none of the norias in Hama today precede the Ayyubid period. However, a mosaic found at Apamea dating to 469 CE pictures a noria very similar to those at Hama, suggesting they may have earlier origins. It was during the Mamluk era that many of the norias—initially started during the rule of the Ayyubid dynasty in the late twelfth and early thirteenth century—were reconditioned and enlarged. The Mamluks also increased the amount of norias in the city. At one time, medieval Hama contained more than thirty of the waterwheels. Aqueducts and other channeling systems were built to take water from the Orontes River and use it to irrigate nearby fields. Now only 17 norias remain, unused.

The noria wheel is up to 20 meters (66 ft) in diameter. The water in the river is channeled into a sluice so that its flow turns the wheel around. Wooden boxes attached to the wheel raise the water from the sluice and discharge it into an artificial channel at the summit of the wheel's rotation. The water is then led by gravity along a series of aqueduct channels. It was distributed to domestic or agricultural users in Hama; access to the flow was regulated at carefully worked-out times so that the water could be shared.

There are two norias on the river close to the citadel. Upstream from the town center at Bichriyat, are four more wheels that can be viewed from outdoor restaurants. Downstream from the center is the largest noria, the al-Mohamadiyya, which used to supply the Great Mosque with water. Part of its old aqueduct still spans the road. It was built in the fourteenth century and restoration work on it began in 1977.

Butheina Alnounou

 

 

 

Bab Touma Churches: A Tale of Religious Tolerance

 

 

 

Inexhaustible tales  are dug in every ancient stone of Bab Touma . Tales that are abundant with the nobility of history and the light of holiness that shines its walls, buildings , alleys and  avenues , giving them more charm that attracts people to breathe the fragrance of an ancient past.

With every passing day, the ancient stones inside  the wall of Damascus in Bab Touma adds  a new mystery to  visitor ‘s curiosity to come once and again to identify those  unmatched features whose secrets are indeed revealed to local residents  who have preserved these places  from  the ancestors.

The  existence  of many churches in the heart  of this area gives the visitor a sense of being closer to God Almighty , especially when  embracing  the  minarets of mosques , creating  an atmosphere of religious  intimacy especially when mosque prayers melt with the ring of the church bill  to tell all visitors that  Damascus is the land of civilizations and the cradle of divine  religions.

Mai Othman, SANA reporter quoted the 60-year old Jawdat Raffoul , a resident of Bab Touma says that the most  beautiful in Bab Touma is the preservation  of its ancient legacy, adding that wondering in its  ancient lanes and alleys  recalls memoires of decades- old tales.

 Raffoul’s house adjoins the “ Sultanate of the  world” cathedral : an ancient church, situated in Lazarieh lane and dates back to  1860 AD . Raffoul  considered  this neighborhood as more  valuable and precious  than  the treasures of the  whole world. “ I do not want to leave the place, where I was  born and grown up, whatever temptations would be. ” he said .

Raffoul  added that along the main street of Bab Touma towards Bab Sharqi , there are  15 churches and monasteries.  Each is  considered as a unique   for ancient Syrian and Byzantine icons which  attract pilgrims , tourists and expatriates from all parts of the world .

 "Although different in terms of  construction , decoration and the presence of statues and arches, the building style of these churches and monasteries  are almost similar as if painted by the brush of the same  artist who gives each monument  a special character while preserving  the special color and characteristics,” Mr. Raffoul explained .

 “ The spirit of coexistence and religious  co-existence and tolerance experienced  in  the old city  of Damascus  and in Bab Touma, in particular , enabled this area occupying a special position for all Syrians."

 

T. Fateh