This beautiful city uses the Orontes River as its cooling system and the Orontes valley for greenery. Hama has many distinctive features, the two most prominent features is its citadel and its ancient Norias (waterwheels). The groaning sound of the Norias adds a certain mystique to this ancient city.
The ancient settlement of Hamath was occupied from the early Neolithic to the Iron Age. Remains from the Chalcolithic era have been uncovered on the mount on which the former citadel once stood. The site is inside a tight curve of the Orontes, which made it relatively easy to defend, and was the original place of the settlement.
From Hama it is easy to visit some of the “Dead Cities” - abandoned ruins of some 700 Byzantine towns, villages and monastic settlements. These ruins are among the greatest treasuries of Byzantine architecture to be found anywhere in the ancient world.
Deserted and desolate today, the region of the Dead Cities once supported an immense and prosperous population, for it was rich in olive groves and was the surroundings of the great Christian city of Antioch.
After the Islamic conquest of the Byzantine world, this region went into decline. Its inhabitants moved away, leaving behind ghost towns. In the absence of invasions or natural disasters, these towns and villages remained remarkably well-preserved over the centuries, with basilicas, monasteries, villas and baths still clearly visible.
Aleppo’s strategic position meant it has been used as a meeting point and trade link between Mesopotamia, the fertile crescent ...