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Hama Region

Hama – Great Mosque
حماة – جامع الكبير‎

Great Mosque of Hama (جامع حماة الكبير‎) is the most impressive religious site in the city, despite being almost entirely reconstructed after the 1982 conflict. Dating back to the 7th century, the mosque was converted from a Byzantine church under Abu Aabideh Bin al-Jarah (أبو عبيدة بن الجراح) during the Umayyad period. That 6th century church was converted from an even earlier Roman temple, originally …

Hama – Qasr al-Azem
حماة – قصر العظم

One of the most attractive residential buildings in Syria is Qasr al-Azem (قصر العظم)‎ of Hama (حماة). It was constructed in 1740 as the residence of Assad Basha al-Azem (أسعد باشا العظم‎), an Ottoman governor of the city. Only three years later he was promoted to governor of Damascus (دمشق), where he built the more well-known palace of the same name. While the building was …

Hama – al-Nuri Mosque
حماة – جامع النوري

al-Nuri Mosque (جامع النوري) was constructed in 1163 during the reign of Nur al-Din Mahmoud Zenki (نور الدين محمود زنكي). Acknowledging the important role that Hama (حماة) played in establishing his rule over both Aleppo (حلب) and Damascus (دمشق), Nur al-Din (نور الدين) endowed the city this mosque. He also had several monuments damaged in a 1157 earthquake rebuilt. The mosque was expanded during the …

Hama – Mosques
حماة – الجوامع

The city of Hama (حماة) has several historic mosques worth visiting in addition to the famed Great Mosque of Hama (جامع حماة الكبير‎) and the al-Nuri Mosque (جامع النوري), both covered separately. Numerous other mosques can be found surrounding the remains of the former citadel. Most of these buildings were constructed during the late Seljuq and early Mamluk periods on a relatively modest scale. The …

Hama – Old Houses
حماة – البيوت القديمة

Much of the historic center of Hama (حماة) was destroyed by armed conflict in 1982. The Syrian government launched a major offensive against the city, then a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood, in February of that year. Subsequent reconstruction of the city largely ignored its architectural heritage, much of which was replaced by modern development. Only a small area of the old city has survived, …

Qalaat Sheizar
قلعة شيزر

Qalaat Sheizar (قلعة شيزر) is an impressive Arab castle located to the north of Hama (حماة) overlooking a vital river crossing point on the Orontes. Here the river, after rushing around a bend through a confined gorge to the east, returns to the more leisurely pace of the plains. The settlement apparently has classical origins, with local legends recorded by Diodorus Siculus (first century BC) claiming its foundation …

Qalaat Abu Qubeis
قلعة آبو قبيس

Among Syrians, Abu Qubeis (آبو قبيس) is one of the most popular sites in the region around Hama (حماة). To foreign visitors, however, it is largely unknown. Locals come here mostly for the natural scenery: the village of Abu Qubeis (آبو قبيس) is located in a mountain river valley, surrounded by pine forests. Particularly in summer, this small Alawite village is full of locals picnicking along the river. …

Qalaat Mirza
قلعة ميرزا

One of the most dramatically situated castles in the whole of Syria, the Crusader castle of Qalaat Mirza (قلعة ميرزا) – sometimes referred to as Qalaat Barziyeh (قلعة برزية) – is well worth a detour for those who have a passion for fortifications. Located in the far northwest of the Hama Region (ريف حماة) on a rocky crag on the steep side of Jebel Ansariyeh, the castle is described by …

Masyaf
مصياف

Masyaf (مصياف) is a predominantly Ismaili town about 45 kilometers west of Hama (حماة). The primary attraction of Masyaf (مصياف) is the Ismaili castle, one of the best preserved in Syria. The town itself is also a pleasant place to explore, with an old section of town and a scenic location at the foothills of the coastal mountain range. The castle can easily be combined …

Deir al-Salib
دير الصليب

The remains of two Byzantine churches are located on opposite ends of this small Alawite village near Masyaf (مصياف). The western church, the first as you approach Deir al-Salib (دير الصليب), is in a far greater state of preservation and is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. It is very lightly decorated, but the scale is impressive and the setting is beautiful, particularly …