Hama is situated 47 Km north of
Homs and 140
km south of
Aleppo. This beautiful city use 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 Norias have been scooping water from
the Orontes (Aassi) River and pouring it into irrigation canals.
The groaning sound of the Norias adds a certain mystique to this
ancient city. The sounds are quite relaxing and soothing to
the mind. Hama is a very clean and conservative town where modern
buildings meet the ancient past.
Hama or Hamah has city has a long history, having been settled as
far back as the Bronze Age and Iron Age, Excavations on and near
the citadel hill, which is now replaced by a park, reveal remains
belonging as far back as the Neolithic period.
In the 2d millennium B.C., it was a center of the Hittites. As
Hamath it is often mentioned in the Bible, where it is said to be
the northern boundary of the Israelite tribes; It was also the
capital of the Aramean kingdom. The Assyrians under Shalmaneser
III captured the city in 720 BC. Later included in the Persian
Empire, it was conquered by Alexander the Great and, after his
death (323 B.C.), in 200 BC it was claimed by the Seleucid kings,
who renamed it Epiphania, after Antiochus IV (Antiochus Epiphanes).
The city later came under the control of Rome and of the Byzantine
Empire. In A.D. 638 it was captured by the Arabs. Christian
Crusaders held Hama briefly (1108), but in 1188 it was taken by
Saladin, in whose family it remained until it passed to Egyptian
Mamluk control in 1299. An early Mamluk governor of Hama was Abd
al-Fida (reigned 1310?30), the historian and geographer. In the
early 16th cent. the city came under the Ottoman Empire. Hama
flourished under the Ayyubids, and the Ottomans left their emblem
in the form of a couple of Khans and a beautiful Azem Palace.
After World War I it was made part of the French Levant States
League of Nations mandate, and in 1947 it became part of
Attractions and historical building
Points of interest in Hama include:
- The famous old waterwheels, some as much as 90 ft (27 m)
in diameter, bring water up from the Orontes for irrigation
- Al Azem Palace which served as the Governor's residence
during the Ottoman Empire
- The remains of the Roman aqueduct (still in use),
- The Great Mosque of jami An-Nuri which was built
for the uncle of Saladin, Nur al-Din. (until 638 a Christian
- In the Al-Madina quarter of the city, you will find the
Citadel surrounded by parks and river-side gardens. The
Great Mosque is also located here. Close by is the Orthodox
- Hama has Muhrajan al-Rabi (Spring Festival) in April where the
local customs and traditions are displayed throughout the city.
This annual event is always a good time to visit Hama and its
Hama is the capital of Hama governorate, W central Syria, on the
Orontes River. It is the market center for an irrigated farm
region where cotton, wheat, barley, millet, and corn are grown.
Manufactures include cotton and woolen textiles, silk, carpets,
and dairy products. Famous old waterwheels, some as much as 90 ft
(27 m) in diameter, bring water up from the Orontes for
irrigation. Hama is a road and rail center, and an airport is
The Roman ruins of Apamea (Afimia) is 60 km northwest of
Hama. Apamea was founded around 300 BC by Seleucus, ruler of
northern Syria and Mesopotamia following the death of Alexander
the Great and named after his Persian wife. This trading
town connected Latakia and
Palmyra. Besides the Roman ruins
Qalaat Mudiq is also an impressive site. Later in its
history Apamea became and important stopping point for pilgrims
from from Istanbul to Mecca.
Other sites of interest near Hama are Qalaat Burzey,
Misyaf, Al-Baida, Deir Solieb, Qalaat
Shmaimis, Qasr ibn Warden and Anderin, S'kalbiey and Mhardeh.
Hama has Muhrajan al-Rabi (Spring Festival) in April where
the local customs and traditions are displayed throughout the
city. This annual event is always a good time to visit Hama
and its sourrounding areas.