According to thenailmythology, 200 km north of Damascus is the city of Hama . Hama has been known since ancient times as a rich fertile land where agriculture flourished.
One of the main attractions of the city are the ancient wooden water-lifting wheels “norias”, which were installed on the Orontes River about 3000 years ago to irrigate agricultural land. To date, about 20 such wheels have been preserved in their original form, the largest of which reaches a diameter of 20 m. Also of interest in the city is the Al-Jami mosque of the 14th century, where two emirs who ruled in the 13th century are buried, the mosque of Abu al-Fida, named after one of the sultans of Hama, who became famous for his geographical and historical research, the 12th century Al-Nuri Mosque with preserved Arabic and Greek inscriptions and the 18th century Azem Palace, which was built for the future governor of Damascus – Azem. Be sure to visit the 16th century Turkish caravanserai, which now houses the Archaeological Museum with mosaics from the nearby ancient city of Apamea.
To the west of Hama is the Mudik fortress with huge towers, and a little to the south is the Shayzar fortress, above the entrance to which Mamluk inscriptions have been preserved.
55 km northwest of Hama lie the ruins of the ancient city of Apamea., built during the reign of the Seleucid dynasty in 300 BC. e. He was named after the wife of Seleucus I – Athama. Most of the surviving ruins date back to the Roman and Byzantine periods. Apamea was a city of scientists and poets. This is evidenced by a mosaic panel depicting Socrates, found by archaeologists. Antony, Cleopatra, Caracalla and many other prominent personalities have been here more than once. Archaeologists excavated the central street of the city, about 2 km long and 87 m wide, along which there are colonnades and walls. Also in Apamea are the ruins of a Roman theater from the 2nd century. After the earthquake of the 12th century, it is a pile of huge stone blocks. Homs is located 50 km south of Hama on the banks of the Orontes River.. It is the third largest city in the country. In ancient times, it was one of the points of the Silk Road. Homs was badly damaged during numerous earthquakes. The oldest surviving building in the city is the Al-Fadael Mosque built in 1062. In addition, in Homs you can see the Ibn al-Walid Mosque, inside which is the tomb of the great Arab commander Ibn al-Walid, the 12th century Al-Nuri Mosque, on the site of which the Temple of the Sun was located under the Romans, one of the oldest Orthodox churches in the world – the Church of Kanis Umm -Zunnar 50 AD, which in translation means “Girdle of the Mother of God”, and the Basilica of St. Elian of the 8th century AD. with unique frescoes and inscriptions in Greek and Arabic. It is worth visiting the municipal museum, where many archaeological exhibits are exhibited.
15 km from Homs is lake Kattina, on which the remains of a dam dating back to the 2nd millennium BC have been preserved.
Not far from the border with Lebanon, 65 km west of Homs, there is one of the most famous crusader castles in the world , Krak des Chevaliers. Due to its historical significance, the castle was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Krak des Chevaliers was built on the site of the castle of the Emir of Aleppo 11th century between 1150 and 1250, after being captured by the crusaders. It was located on a 650 m high hill and became the main castle of the Order of Malta, which controlled important trade routes. The fortress covers an area of 3000 sq. m, has 13 towers, of which 7 are 10 m in diameter, and its inner walls at the base reach a thickness of more than 3 m. In one of the towers of Krak des Chevaliers, the Grand Master of the Order of Malta lived. The fortress could accommodate about 5,000 soldiers and was the largest Crusader castle in the Holy Land. The castle was surrounded by a moat, over which a bridge was thrown, structures in the Gothic style were erected inside the fortress walls. They included a Meeting Hall, a chapel, storage and 2 stables for 1000 horses, another storage was arranged in the rock under the fortress. Today it is one of the few places on earth where frescoes from the Crusader era have been preserved. At the beginning of the 13th century, after several earthquakes, the castle was reconstructed. In 1271, the castle was captured by the Mamluk Sultan Baibars. The Sultan ordered to rebuild the fortress, and built a mosque on the site of the chapel.