- Is the third largest city in Syria and is located 160 km north of
Damascus. It is strategically located between Damascus and Aleppo
and is not far from Hama to the north, Palmyra to the southeast, and the
coast to the west.
An industrial city in the fertile Orontes River (al-Assi) Valley, Homs was
once the ancient city of Emesa, which held a temple to the sun god
Elagabal (it's alleged to be where high priest Heliogabalus became emperor
of Rome). Homs is now known for its silk goods. Prime
attractions of Homs are the Khalid Ibn Al-Walid Great Mosque and the ruins
of the underground monastery and chapel of the Syrian Aramain Church.
Other attractions include the Citadel, Al Nouri Mosque, Kaneesat Um
Zummar, Kaneesat Mar Elian the ancient souks and the cities proximity of
the formidable Medieval castle Krak Des Chevaliers (Qalaat al-Hosn).
Homs is an ancient city dating back to the year 2300 B.C. it contains a
number of installations and castles, but earthquakes had destroyed
most of the historical landmarks. Only the remains of one citadel
built above a rocky hill south of the city with two gates and a wall remained
intact. The two gates are: Bab Sham (Damascus) and the Bab Palmyra.
The most important historical building in the city is the mosque and
tomb of the Arab Moslem leader Khaled Bin Al-Walid who lived in Homs
for the last seven years of his life. This building is distinguished
by its metal dome which reflects sunshine. It is also famous for its
two high minarets and narrow galleries built with black and white
stones in a horizontal manner. Another mosque in the city Al-Nouri
Mosque, which dates back to the twelfth century.
There is also the Kaneesat Um Zummar church which was named after a piece
of cloth said to have belonged to the Virgin Mary that was found
underneath the alter during renovations in the 1950's. Another
church in the area is Kaneesat Mar Elian church which also had discovered
beautiful wall paintings and mosaic in the 1970's during renovations.
It also contains Arab and Greek scripts dating back to the twelfth
century AD and even as far back as the sixth century.
Between Homs and Tartus, the Krak Des Chevaliers (Qalaat al-Hosn) is the
most important castle of the middle ages. It is located 65 km west
of Homs and reaches a summit of 750 meters above sea level. The
castle controls a strategic passage called the Homs gap in the Orontes
Valley. The castle was erected covers an area of 3 hectares and has
13 towers containing a number of halls, stores, passages, stables and
Around Homs - Other places of interest around Homs, include al-Rastan,
Meshta al-Helu (Resort Town), Mar Jourjous (Monastery of St. George), Wadi
al-Nasara (collection of Christian villages surrounding Qalaat al-Hosn),
al-Mishrefeh and Lake Qattina.
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