Qatna... A Kingdom of Gold

 

When visiting Homs, the largest Syrian province in Syria, we usually visit Palmyra, the Crack des Chevaliers as well as other historical places in the vicinity, forgetting visiting some of the most important, but not promoted, places which we know only from textbooks and electronic sites, like the kingdom of Qatna, one of the largest archeological places dating back to the Bronze Age, 18km from Homs.

In 1973 and before the Tall was occupied by a small village, alMisherfeh with its beautiful country side mud houses built on already built stone bases which were found underground. Because these bases were costless and strong, people started to dig for them to build over them. Not a long time passed when in the middle of the 19th century, people realized that they were building on a historical place.

A Seleucid Miracle Called

Afamia

A dramatic contradiction occurs between the grey stones and the fertile emerald green meadows, so the place became a strategic center and an eternal symbol, especially that the prominent coastal mountains create a magic back ground for this scenery, while the plains of alGhab and the Orontes Valley surrounds it like a bracelet holding a precious jewel. Therefore it was natural for the Seleucids, grand children of Alexander the Great, to chose this place and make of it a wonder of time and a metropolis to the whole East. It is 250km north east of Damascus.

The Umayyad Mosque

The Pulsing Heart of Damascus And The Link Between Earth And Heaven

 

The Umayyad Mosque is undoubtedly one of early Islam’s most magnificent monuments, stands on a site which has been held sacred for the last three millennia, its chameleonic biography reflecting the monumental shifts in the history of the city.

The compound of the Aramaic temple of “Hadad” and, later, the Roman Temple of Jupiter would have stretched from the grand archway at the eastern end of the Hamidiye Souk right over to the monumental gate that lies half buried beneath the street level, some 120 m beyond the eastern gate of the present day mosque.

 Within this huge enclosure would have been an inner compound corresponding to the dimensions of the mosque today. In the late fourth century AD the temple was converted into a Church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, though to cover roughly the same area as today’s prayer hall.

A Phoenician Ship

The replica of an ancient Phoenician ship departed from Syria in August 2008, to sail through the Suez Canal, around the Horn of Africa and up the west coast of Africa, through the Straits of Gibraltar and across the Mediterranean to return to Syria. The ship is 20 metres long and was constructed at Arwad Island, an ancient Phoenician city state just off the Syrian coast, by Syrian shipwright Khalid Hammoud using traditional methods.

AlRasafa

Jewel of Syrian Desert and Cradle of Civilizations. AlRasafa, 50km south west of alRaqqa, is one of the most important historical cities in Syria and a precious jewel adorning the Syrian Desert. On its remains ages and civilizations meet and among its ruins the spiritual Christian- Islamic coexistence is incarnated. Therefore much concern is directed to it so that it might restore its glorious past.