The Magnificent “Dead Cities” of Ancient Syria

(Image: Jim Gordon, cc-3.0)

Known as the Dead Cities, or Ancient Villages of Northern Syria, this incredible collection of 700 abandoned settlements lies in the Al-Bara region, among the hills between the Aleppo-Hama Highway and the Orontes River. Ranging from single monuments to almost-complete villages, these ghostly sites date back before the fifth century CE. They are situated in an area known as Belus Massif, and contain numerous remains of Christian Byzantine architecture.

(Images: Bernard Gagnon, Bertramz (middle & lower), cc-sa-3.0)

Rich in authenticity, with a refreshing lack of commercial enterprise, the sights are well preserved. The ruins are believed to have been abandoned between the 8th and 10th century, and include churches, public houses, dwellings, and even wine presses. Restorative work is currently taking place on the sites, and the local inhabitants are welcoming to visitors.

(Images: Xvlun; Bertramz 1, 2, 3Odilia; licensed under cc-sa-3.0)

The Dead Cities, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are believed to have flourished on the major trade routes of the Byzantine Empire, where they were established. But when the Arabs conquered, they lost the majority of their business, and many inhabitants moved to areas of increasing urbanisation. As a result, the Dead Cities have an “eerie” feel to them – as if the inhabitants simply vanished without trace.

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  • Surazeus Simon Seamount

    The location of one of them, and the general area where others may be found, is at this latitude and longitude. 

    35.671218,  36.584383

    Copy and paste that into Google Earth to see ruins and photos. 

  • Surazeus Simon Seamount

    The pyramid tomb is at this location. 

    35.686442, 36.528309

  • http://www.urbanghostsmedia.com Tom

    Thanks for the tip, Surazeus – we’ll check out on Google!

  • Paul Davies

    Anyone know where to find the ruins of the Ancient Syrian cities of Giants? PLease email me at pdaviesoz@optusnet.com.au

 
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