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Hama Region, Page 2

Qasr Ibn Wardan
قصر ابن وردان

Qasr Ibn Wardan (قصر ابن وردان) is a fascinating Byzantine church and palace complex located at the edge of the desert to the northeast of Hama (حماة). Built during the reign of Justinian and completed in 564, the site supplemented other Byzantine fortifications such as Halabiyeh (حلبية) and al-Rasafeh (الرصافة) in defense of the Persians to the east. The approach here was far more elegant in design, with …

al-Andarin
الاندرين

The remote Byzantine site of al-Andarin (الاندرين) is spread over a vast area at the edges of the semi-desert, about twenty-five kilometers beyond the more well-known Byzantine site of Qasr Ibn Wardan (قصر ابن وردان). Once a massive settlement, much of the site remains unexcavated, but it is nonetheless a fascinating place to explore. The site is perhaps most impressive for the surreal setting, with …

Athriya
اثريا

The small desert village of Athriya (اثريا) was once the site of the ancient Roman settlement of Seriana. Remains of its beautiful third century temple, relatively well-preserved, survive in this harsh desert landscape located about one hundred and thirty kilometers from Hama (حماة) and about equal distance from Homs (حمص). Once an important crossroads, and considerably more fertile than it is today, Athriya (اثريا) marked the point where the route between …

Qalaat al-Shamamis
قلعة الشماميس

Qalaat al-Shamamis (قلعة الشماميس) is a largely ruined Ayyubid-era castle located just a few kilometers northwest of Salamiyeh (سلمية). The castle dates from 1231 and was built on the flattened top of an extinct volcanic cone by the Ayyubid Prince of Homs, al-Mujahid Assad al-Din Shirkuh II (المجاهد أسد الدين شيركوه), who ruled between 1186 and 1240. The castle was destroyed by the Mongols in 1260 …

Salamiyeh
سلمية

Salamiyeh (سلمية) is a predominantly Ismaili town located about forty kilometers east of Hama (حماة). The town has had a long history dating back to Roman times, and while there isn’t much evidence of it today, it is worth spending some time to see what Salamiyeh (سلمية) has to offer. The most interesting site in the city is the mosque and tomb of Imam Ismael, which was built …

Qalaat al-Madiq
قلعة المضيق

Qalaat al-Madiq (قلعة المضيق) is a large village located on the main road that travels the length of the eastern side of the al-Ghab plain north of al-Suqeilbiyeh (الصفيلبية). While most well-known for the neighboring site of Apamea (آفاميا), Qalaat al-Madiq (قلعة المضيق) itself has a few attractions of note. Foremost is the castle that overlooks the town, which was largely constructed from remains of the nearby Roman …

Beehive Houses
القبب

Known as “beehive houses”, these traditional homes are constructed from dirt, mud, straw and stone in a rounded conical shape. These attractive homes are a common sight in the arid countryside east of Hama (حماة). Built connected to each other around a central courtyard, they are designed to keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. While modern concrete structures are rapidly replacing these traditional …

Qalaat al-Rasafeh
قلعة الرصافة

Qalaat al-Rasafeh (قلعة الرصافة) is a little known and seldom visited Ismaili castle located about seven kilometers into the mountains southwest of the town of Masyaf (مصياف). While largely in ruin, it is a picturesque site surrounded by forest and worth a stop if in the area. The castle was built in a semi-circular plan from local limestone and its current shape dates back to the …