Al-Nadarah Valley, Tourist Gate of Syria's Central Region

It's mild climate, charming nature, high mountains and picturesque valleys make it one of the most fascinating areas in western  Homs.  Al-Nadarah Valley with the other neighboring villages  such as al-Hawash, al-Mzieneh, Marmarita, Almshteih, Nasera, Kafrah and Ein el-Bardeh (the Cold Spring), which are located on tops of mountains and in valleys, create charming series of natural resorts that attracts tourists, nature lovers and rest seekers  from inside and outside Syria.

In winter, the people here experience very hard climate of cold and heavy rain that ensures them great amount of water in the dams, which are distributed in the region such as al-  Mzieneh Dam, which was setup on the River Rawel. This dam helps people to benefit from the Heaven's gift to irrigate the agricultural lands in Summer, in addition to its being  a wonderful park for visitors where a number of beautiful restaurants were erected.

Besides its fresh springs, healthy air and charming nature, al-Nadarah Valley enjoys a lot of important tourist components. The Valley contains a number of  archaeological and religious sites. The most famous is al-Hoson Castle, which is considered the most famous medieval castle which is  mostly toured by visitors from all over the world in addition to the monastery of Mar Gergios in Almsteih which overlooks the castle and surrounded by  forest, which is one of the important symbols of religious tourism in Syria.

Al- Faouar spring is a natural phenomenon that confused all  visitors who tour the area waiting for the effervescence of its water.

A lot of restaurants and parks, hotels and resorts have been erected next to the wonderful spring and the neighboring areas  where several musical festivals are held in August every year.

There is also a relics of an old church that has been recently restored where a large statue of the Virgin Mary is placed. The statue looks like the one in Harissa in Lebanon.

Several studies and plans are set for developing the castle and the valley so as to preserve the historical heritage of the area  in order to be a center for recreation and for natural,  historical and religious tourism, as well as a special agricultural area.

In a step to promote tourism and attract more Arab and foreign tourists, Al-Nadarah Valley hosts several festivals every year such as "the Castle and the Valley" Festival which is held at al-Hoson Castle's amphitheater  that can accommodate two thousand people.

Amal Farhat

The City of Al-Qseir

"Al-Qsier" name comes from the fact that this city had been a hotbed for deer in the past. Since its very beginning,  the city did not suffer any kind of persecution  and its people did not experience feudalism. The city’s inhabitants were the actual owners of their land.

Thanks to al-Assi River which runs through its lands, the city flourished as people began to cultivate their lands, as well as houses increased. Throughout its history al-Qsier has hosted many of the princes and kings, the most important  was  the campaign of  "Muhammad Ali Pasha" to the Levant, led by his son, "Ibrahim Pasha".  As a result many Egyptian families stayed in  " al-Qsier " after the campaign to the Levant because of their love for this city.

The city's population reaches to 42 thousand. More than 40 villages are administratively  affiliated to the city.  It is linked with  "Homs" via  transportation routes that ensure the city's residents a direct contact with the rest of the villages. In  the past,  there was  a significant railway station which linked Syria with Lebanon through "Riyaq – Aleppo" railway. But after the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war all journeys via this line were stopped.

Because of  its climate and the fertility of the land,  al-Qsier people produce various kinds of agricultural crops.  Apples, apricots, wheat and barley which has its own features , in addition to various kinds of olive trees growing  in this area justifying  the large number of olive presses in al-Qsier.

Al-Qsier  contains many  significant  archaeological sites  such as the Romanian  mill of  "Om al-Ragheef", and  the “Arch” which is a  famous archaeological site that also dated back  to the Roman history.  The archaeological city of "Jose", and Prophet Mando Tel, what is called "Kadesh, " are also among  the important archeological sites . There is also the  newly discovered cave of  "Zeta" which dates back , according to scientists, to more than 80 million years .

Amal Farhat

Krak des Chevaliers

The Krak des Chevaliers (French for "Fortress of Knights"; Arabic: Qala'at Al-Hosn) near Homs in Syria is a popular tourist destination that was declared a World Heritage Site in 2006. Author Paul Theroux described it as the dream castle of childhood fantasies, while T.E. Lawrence called it "the finest castle in the world".

The remarkably well-preserved Crusader castle looks almost exactly as it did during the Crusades. Built and expanded between 1150 and 1250, it eventually housed a garrison of 2000. The castle guarded the only major pass between Antioch and Beirut in Lebanon. It held out against several attacks, but was lost to the Mamluk Sultan Beybar in 1271.

The castle has two parts: an outside wall with 13 towers and an inside wall and keep. The two are separated by a moat which was used to fill the baths and water the horses, but is now full of stagnant water.

Through the main entrance (an imposing gate in the 16ft-thick wall) and past the towers that defended the castle is a courtyard. A corridor covered in delicate carvings leads to a large vaulted hall containing an old oven, a well and some latrines.

The chapel in the courtyard was converted to a mosque at the hands of  Sultan Beybar .

The top floor of the Tower of the Daughter of the King is home to a café with great views.

Source: Sacred Destination

N.H.Khider

Al -Adida Valley ... Attractive Scenery

(ST) - Al -Adida Valley in Safita city is not mere a valley, but it is a green carpet of trees, plants and vegetables in addition to the variety of its good people. All this beauty and greenery of nature have shaped a pure painting of nature and life.

About the name, Hanna Musa, aresident , saysa "Al -Adida Valley is a beautiful area where nature has granted it a special and unparalleled beauty, especially its fresh water and the abundance of springs so-called "Al -Adida Valley".

The name also was taken from the numerous of its small quarters and sticking to each other. The valley is a combination of several villages scattered along the valley in addition to the spread of various beliefs and religions.

Life in "Al -Adida Valley" is harmonious. The residents are of different beliefs and live in brotherly and loving terms and there is no difference between a Muslim and a Christian. All the people of the village are educated and intellectuals and people are eager to teach their daughters before their children," Musa explained.

The valley is located between Machta al -Holo and Safita and it is closer to Safita.  The valley is famous for olive cultivation, and citrus trees. It has been said that there was a spring in front of every house for irrigation. The villages of the valley are a tourist and recreational destinations where locals in addition to tourists visit this wonderful area.

Sh. al -Khatib

Akalta City.. .. Impregnable Fortresses

(ST)- Akalta City has been proud  as defensive fortresses against Hittites,  Assyrians and Egyptians during the period of the conflict between these three forces for control of the ancient world in the second half of the second millennium BC. After that conflict the city prospered, expanded and made her huge new walls with an arched gate leading out of the city.

Since 1969, the archaeological mission of the German Oriental Society, conducts the excavation works of the site. In Al Raqqa Museum, there is a showroom specialized to display the discoveries in this site.

The city is located on the east bank of the Euphrates River at the end of Al -Assad Lake on an area of 100 km west of Raqqa city, and 50 km far from the Euphrates dam. The city passed in two phases: the phase of the third millennium BC, and the phase of the second millennium 1500-1150 BC.

 The appearance of the layers of fires indicate that the city was destroyed more than once, and the last destruction was about the year1250  BC, where it was abandoned completely, but some finds date back to the Roman and Byzantine periods suggest that the site was inhabited by scattered groups through that period.

Archaeological discoveries on a number of cuneiform tablets talked about the city and its relations with neighboring cities and the existence of two large temples and dwellings as well as the presence of an important  wall dates back to the early Bronze Age, with a width of six meters.

Archaeological excavations showed that the residents of Akalta had some handicrafts and practiced various types of agricultural and commercial business, and the city's commercial market was large in which different trade exchanges were conducted, animals and all kinds of grains, vegetables and fruits also were sold. The animal elephant was present in the region during the second millennium BC, as well as lions, tigers and leopards.

Sh. Kh.