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As Salamiyah or As Salamiyeh is a Syrian city in the Hama Governorate. It is located 33 km southeast of Hama, 45 km northeast of Homs. The city is nicknamed the "mother of Cairo" because it was the birthplace of the second Fatamid Caliph Muhammad al-Qaim Bi-Amrillah, who's dynasty would eventually establish the city of Cairo, and the early headquarters of his father Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah who founded the Fatamid Caliphate. The city is an important center of the Nizari Ismaili sect and also the birthplace of poet Muhammad al-Maghut.

Salamiyeh is an ancient city which was first known during Babylonian times in 3500 BC. It was the dwelled in by Sumerians at around 3000 BC, the Amorites around 2400 BC, the Aramaeans around 1500 BC, and the Nabateans around 500 BC. The city was destroyed for the first time by the Assyrians in the year 720 BC. After being rebuilt, the city was part of the Roman Empire and ruled by the Sempsigerami Arab dynasty of Emessa (Homs) in ancient Rome around 100 BC where they built the famous Shmemis castle on the remains of a former volcano, 5 km northwest of Salamiyeh.

During the Byzantine Empire, Salamiyeh existed as a Christian center with its own autocephalic Archbishop, until the city was destroyed for a second time during the Persian invasion of Syria of 637 during the Byzantine-Sassanid Wars by commander Kisra Ibrawiz who raised the city to the ground. The city was rebuilt again in the Islamic era by Abdullah ibn Saleh ibn Ali al-Abassi, the Abbasid governor of southern and center Syria, in 754 and was settled by some Hashimites during the Abbasid era, and al-Abbasi's son Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Saleh transformed the city into an important commercial center.

Salamiyeh is mentioned by historians as a very small town with limited rural settlement consequent to the Qarmatian invasion until the early Ottoman period wherein it was apparently deserted due to lack of protection from Bedouin attacks. Salamiyeh was rebuilt when permission by the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II through a firman in July 1849 gave permission for the emigration of Ismailis led byIsmail bin Muhammad, the Ismaili amir of Qadmus in northern Syria. Ismailis from Qadmus and Masyaf amongst other smaller towns and villages emigrated to the newly rebuilt city which was first occupied by only sixteen families and by 1861, Salamiyeh became a agricultural village. The final major Ismaili immigration to Salamiyeh occurred in 1919.

Salamiyeh is currently the largest population center of Ismaili Muslims in the Arab world. During the mid-twentieth century, Salamiyeh saw a growth of religious diversity with the building of the first Sunni mosque, and now the city is home to almost a dozen Sunni mosques and a Jafari Shia mosque. The city was even once home to a very small Armenian Christian population who migrated fleeing the Armenian genocide orchestrated by the Ottoman Empire, even building a small church, however the church no longer exists and the number of Armenians currently in the city are extremely small. Currently, a little more than half of the city's residents are Ismaili.Salamiyeh's residents are well known in their affinity to literature, especially poetry, and their love for Arab and Islamic thought and philosophy. The city is an agricultural center, with a largely agriculture based economy. Mate is extremely popular in Salamiyeh and a drink of major cultural importance in social gatherings.Salamiyeh's residents are known to be open minded and tolerant.

Historical Sites
A hammam (bath) of unique architecture, likely dating from the Ayyubid era, sits in the town center, near a large underground Byzantine cistern which is said to lead all the way to Shmemis castle. There also exists one wall from an ancient Byzantine citadel.

Shmemis castle (Qalat Shmamis): located 5 km north west of Salamiyah and 30 km south east from Hama. The castle was first built, on top of an extinct volcano, in the first century BC by the Emesan Arab dynasty called the (al Shmis ghram) Sempsigerami. Most of the original structure was subsequently destroyed by an earthquake. It was later destroyed by the Persian king Khosrau_II in 613 AD. It was rebuilt in 1229 AD by Assad ud-Din Shirkoh, an Ayyubid governor of Homs. However, the Mongols destroyed it in 1260 AD and then by the Tatars in 1401 AD. It was rebuilt after the expulsion of the Mongols and Tatars from Syria. The castle today is in ruins with only walls partially preserved.



Main References: wikipedia.org, The Syrian, Britannica, Encarta and Columbia encyclopedias, ....


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