Phoenician Temple ,most important excavations at Amrit


The city lies on the Mediterranean coast around 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) south of modern-day Tartus. Two rivers cross the city: Nahr Amrit, near the main temple, and Nahr al-Kuble near the secondary temple, a fact that might be linked to the importance of water in the religious traditions in Amrit. The city was probably founded by the Arvadites, and served as their continental base. It grew to be one of the wealthiest towns in the dominion of Arwad. The city surrendered, along with Arwad, to Alexander the Great in 333 BC. During Seleucid times the town, known as Marathus, was probably larger and more prosperous than Arwad. In 219 BC Amrit gained independence from Arwad, and was later sacked by forces from the latter city in 148 BC.

Excavations of the site principally began in 1860 by Ernest Renan. Excavations were again carried out in 1954 by the archaeologist Maurice Dunand. Ceramic ware finds at Amrit indicated the site had been inhabited as early as the third millennium BC. Middle and Late Bronze Age "silo tombs" were also excavated, with contents ranging from weapons to original human remains. Excavations at the necropolis south of the town yielded several tomb structures. The funeral art found in some tombs with pyramidal-or cube-shaped towers, is considered some of "the most notable grave-monuments of the Phoenician world." Excavations also uncovered the town's ancient harbor, and a U-shaped stadium that dates back to the 4th and 3rd centuries BC and measures around 230 metres (750 ft) in length.

One of the most important excavations at Amrit was the Phoenician temple, commonly referred to the "ma'abed," dedicated to the god Melqart of Tyre and Eshmun. The colonnaded temple, excavated between 1955 and 1957, consists of a large court cut out of rock measuring 47×49 metres (154×161 ft) and over 3 metres (9.8 ft) deep, surrounded by a covered portico. In the center of the court a well-preserved cube-shaped cella stands.] The open-air courtyard was filled with the waters of a local, traditionally sacred spring, a unique feature of this site. The temple dated back to the late 4th century BC shows major Achaemenid influence in its layout and decoration. According to Dutch archaeologist, Peter Akkermans, the temple is the "best-preserved monumental structure from the Phoenician homeland."

A second temple, described by visitors to the site in 1743 and 1860 and thought to have disappeared, was later discovered by the Syrian archaeological mission near the Nahr al-Kuble spring.

Compiled by:Maysa Wasouf




Holy Patriarchal Convent of Our Lady of Saidnaya

The Saidnaya Convent is located in the mountains 20 miles north the city of Damascus in Syria. Saidnaya was the seat of the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch. Saidnaya has many ancient associations with the Bible. Many scholars consider Saidnaya to be second in religious importance to Jerusalem. Pilgrims from all over the world seek Saidnaya for renewal of faith and for healing. Saidnaya is also an area renowned for its faithfulness to Christianity.

The walls are covered with myriad signs of gratitude to the All-pure One. The Icon of the All-holy Virgin is believed to be one of four icons extant that were painted by St. Luke the Evangelist himself. In the Syriac language this icon is called the Chahoura or Chaghoura, which means "The Illustrious, Celebrated, or Renowned.". There are also many other fine icons of the Holy Virgin and the saints, which date from the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries. There are about fifty nuns in the convent, presided over by an abbess. The convent owns several inalienable properties in Syria and Lebanon. Thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the world visit this holy place every year, particularly for its feast, the Nativity of the Theotokos on the eighth of September. In its library, which contains hundreds of valuable manuscripts, it can be documentedthatthe convent was founded about the year 547.

The convent soon gained such renown that it came to be ranked second only to Jerusalem as a place of pilgrimage, and nuns from every corner of Syria, Egypt, and other lands flocked to it. The holy Icon El Chagoura appeared many years after the convent was constructed.

Visitors from the region and from far away places seek The holy Lady of Saidnaya (Chaghoura) shrine for healing. Numerous miraculous healing stories have been reported and some of these stories are documented in writing by those who experienced it in the entrance of the holy shrine in the convent. Many other Catholic and Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, Syriac Orthodox churches and monasteries have been built in Saidnaya throughout history. There are few massive monasteries that have been built recently. These include: St. Thomas Roman Catholic Monastery, St. Estphariuos Orthodox Monastery, Cherubim Monastery in Marret Saidnaya. 


Nada Haj Khader


AL-Miskiya Market,Good Destination for Students

School and university students head to Almiskiya market-around the clock- where a huge numbers of shops displayed necessary materials with high quality and low prices.

Abo Jameel Al-Mujtahed ,aged 74  ,is a shop owner since almost five decades.

Al-Mujtahid , who witnessed countless number of incidents which took place there,gave a brief account on the said souk.

"Al-Miskiya souk meets the requirements of school and university students as regards books and stationary.

These books are branded as high quality with low price.

Shoes and handicrafts are also displayed for buyers in the souk.

The high season for sellers comes right at the return of pupils to their schools.

The displayed goods, to a large extent, attracted pupils and their parents alike to buy their necessary needs with low prices.

"the market embodies the state  of brotherhood among shops'owners.Furthermore, we encourage each other to take benefits of this strategic market ,"another shop owner asserted.

It is worth noting that al-Miskiya souk is located near the most important souk in Syria (al-Hamidiya) and this simply means a merit for buyers who could complete their shopping.


Hanan Shamout


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