AS’Swaida, the sleeping beauty

The province of black stones and rich vineyards, it is the land of the full colored gardens; AS’Swaida is full of archaeologies and historical sites.

AS’Swaida is located 109 Km to the southern east of Damascus, to the east of Dara’a with whom it shares the northern border with Jordan, it totals around 6550 Square Km. Spending time in As’swaida is one of the most great things that you could do due to its moderate refreshing atmosphere during summer time. In winter the whole black stone city turns to the whitest city in Syria; snow invades it together with very low temperature and through the last few years snow has repeatedly covered many of its villages. As’swaida is 1100 m above sea level while Shabaa (one of AS’Swaida cities) is about 1050 m above sea level, the highest area in AS’Swaida is Tal Queinia which riches the high 1809 m above sea level.

It is considered as one of the most interesting historical sites in Syria, it witnessed three stages of human civilized traces during the last four thousand years, its name (AS’Swaida means the black town ) because it has been built by black volcanic stones it was known as (Suada) then they called it as (Deonceas) during the byzantine era. In the Nabataea era AS’Swaida used to be one of the most important official cities. Romans called it “DIONYSIAS” because it was the town of the delicious grapes-and still-the most notable of its ruins are now housed in the AS`SWEIDA Museum, which also contains a magnificent collection of mosaic. One piece of the mosaic collection represents “ARTHMIS” the Goddess of hunting, surrounded by her nymphs when she is surprised by a hunter while bathing. Another amazing piece of historical art is the statues that spreads all over the city all of them are carved in the hard basalt, they show signs of a mixture of Nabataea , Greek, Roman, Byzantine ,and Arab influences, you will discover also a 3rd century Roman temple surrounded by a colonnade of Corinthian columns.

AS’Swaida is a collection of great, beautiful, ancient cities such as:

SHAHBA

Is the birth place of the Arab Syrian Emperor Philip who ruled the Roman Empire between 244 and 249 A.D to honor him, the city bore the name

“PHILIPOPLIS” during the Roman period. It was the personal interest of the Arab emperor Philip, he built it according to the Roman style, he built many palaces, temples, triumphal arches, public paths, a new theatre, and a great wall to surround it, as if he wanted to make Shahba a replica of Rome itself you should visit the museum of Shahba to see the immense mosaic panels that represent the ancient Greek myths they are magnificent, another historical site is the remains of the city temple, some public bathes, parts of the great wall, as well as the two interesting thoroughfares can still be seen in the town.

QANAWAT

Is situated 7Km. to the east od AS’swaida, it was one of the ten “Decapolis” during the Roman period, the greatest site you should visit when you will go to Shahba is the cluster of columns which were part of the 2nd century temple dedecated to the God of sun “Helios”, another temple belongs to the same period was delecated to Zeus, it was built with decorated basalt, only six columns of this temple still on, Shaba is divided into two parts by a shallow valley, on the right side of the valley there are the remains of the theatre.

SALKHAD

It is 38 KM to the south of AS`SWEIDA. It contains many important sites such as: the citadel that was built by the Napateans and renovated by the mamluk and Ayoubits and the minaret of an Ayoubit mosque in the town square

AS’Swaida was a part of the Bashan Kingdome ( during the Canaanite period ) , Nabatean lived in the city  BC then the Arab came and   accommodated the city up till now, many people has immigrated to the city from Lebanon and Palestine they used the old buildings and renewed them. Ottomans built a prison and a government house in it. Visiting AS’swaida is a great chance to meet its wonderful tender and clever people they are all well educated , and ready to discuss anything with you no matter they are professional or not . You will have the chance to walk on the same roads that many emperors has walked on you can enjoy the stone by stone – built houses. AS’swaida is the bride of the Syrian ancient cities.

If you want to make one day tour I suggest the following:

Leave Damascus and head to the south, arrive in Bosra and visit: the Gates, the old Bathes and Souqs, the Church of the Monk Buheira, and Al Omari Mosque, the Roman Amphitheater. Then move to AS’Swaida city and visit its Museum, then move to Shahba (the home town of the Emperor Philip the Arab) to see the Theatre, the Temple, the Baths, and the Museum & Mosaic, head back to Damascus.

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