Though difficult to discern in the attached photo due to mist, Mount Hermon is quite visible from Qanawat. The town is situated on the western facing slopes of Jebel al-Arab, the volcanic mountain plateau known as the Hauran, which rises to a height of 1800 metres. Thus, Qanawat is graced by unobstructed views westwards over the Hauran and Golan...more
The Hauran countryside just outside Qanawat is blessed with a fertile soil and relatively abundant water. This is all the more a contrast in a region generally known for its desert and aridity. On the western slopes of the Hauran just outside Qanawat are not only farms, vineyards and olive groves, but surprisingly also large oak tree forests....more
Built in the 2nd century AD, the Western Basilica of the Seraya was reconfigured in the 4th century AD into a Christian place of worship. Archaeologists are uncertain of its original function, which may have been a pagan temple or a government building, perhaps a basilica (non-religious). Its orientation was north-south, with its entrance from the...more
On the north-eastern side of the Seraya complex are the ruins of additional buildings. One part is thought to have been used as a baptistry, but the rest is believed to be residential, possibly belonging to a monastery adjacent to the Eastern Basilica. There are also the remains of a tower.more
The Town Hall square is the focal centre of the modern town of Qanawat. Many of the town's buildings were constructed in the past couple of centuries, often using materials from the Roman ruins of Canatha. This square is a great place to see some of the recycling of materials. First, the Town Hall itself sits atop a section of the Roman baths and a...more
Adjacent to the Western Basilica is yet another paleo-Christian basilica. The structure was originally built in the 3rd century AD, possibly as an agora, i.e. forum or market place. It consisted of long rectangular open atrium, with a north-south orientation, surrounded by colonnaded porticoes. In the 4th or 5th century AD, the structure was...more
Built in the 2nd century AD, probably on the site of an older Nabatean/Semitic temple, these ruins are of a temple attributed to Zeus. It consisted of a four-columned portico preceding an inner sanctuary (the cella). The foundation and floor are still place, but much of the rest has disappeared, with the exception of one corner wall and a few...more
The best preserved of the ancient ruins in Canatha is this complex of buildings known as the Seraya (i.e., seraglio or palace). It was named so probably because of the grandeur of the edifice, rather than ever being used as a palace. In fact, it is composed of two adjacent paleo-Christian basilicas, a courtyard, a baptistry and a small mausoleum,...more
Standing majestically to the present day, the seven tall Corinthian columns of the Temple of Helios make it easy to imagine how impressive this temple, dedicated to the sun god Helios, might have once been. It was built around 200 AD as a peripteral temple, i.e. with columns running along its entire perimeter, located extra-muros, just west of...more
Located in the centre of the modern town, adjacent to the Municipal Town Hall, are the ruins of the Roman Baths of Canatha. They date from the 2nd century AD and were built following the Roman imperial design. What is visible is perhaps only a small part of the original edifice as about two-thirds lie underneath the adjacent mosque and town hall...more
Located at the bottom of Wadi al-Ghar, the gorge that runs through Qanawat, this ruined is structure is described as a Nymphaeum. The reality is that archaeologists are unsure whether it was a nymphaeum or simply a temple. Either way, it is known to date to the 3rd century AD. The structure is near the Odeon and can also be seen from the road that...more
Seen through the trees in this photo (near bottom) are the steps of the Odeon of Canatha. This small theatre is in ruins today but in its heyday had nine rows of seats and measured 46 metres in width. It was built in the second half of the 3rd century AD against the edge of a deep gorge that runs through Canatha, known as Wadi al-Ghar. This valley...more
Located just outside the ruins of the Temple of Zeus, south-west of the Seraya, are the ruins of an Roman-period underground water cistern. For a city named after the aqueducts and canals that transported water to the farms nearby (Qanawat in Arabic means canals), the sight of a water cistern is no surprise. This cistern is thought to be one of...more
My introduction and that of other contributers should fill you in on Qanawat and the significance of Seraglio as a 2nd century temple turned into a basilica for early Christian worship. This trip can be done in a day trip from Damascus, and if one leaves the city early enough, Busra can also be included in the day. About 30 minutes is all one needs...more
The basilica is actually an interesting collection of a Roman and Christian buildings , the northern Roman temple of Athina Allat 2nd century B.C was incorporated within the basilica in the 4th century A.C with just a few columns remained as a indication to that temple , the Basilica consists of two main buildings ( two churches and an atrium ) ....more
The most important monument in the town , standing in the middle of it , east of the town’s main square .Originally it was first a Roman temple , then during the Byzantine epoch it was transformed into a paleochristian basilica , when Canatha was considered as a bishopric over the Southern Syria districts .more
Because Zeus temple is located at highest point of the town , a big reservoir (17-14.5)m. was built under the temple with an aqueduct that guided the water to the houses and villas of the town in a network of brick pipes under the ground , the source of the water was from the Elghar river up in the hills east of the town .more
The Zeus temple is located at the highest point of the old town on its northeastern edge, but unfortunately the current status of this temple is not good , it was exposed to a large demolition by the inhabitants of the town who took its stones to construct their homes !!. the temple consist of a portico with 4 columns , in the inner part of the...more
Buses to Suweida leave from Baramke bus station. It is within walking distance from central Damascus and is not far from the train station. A few bus companies leave every half an hour to Suweida and it costs 45 SP. The bus ride is supposed to take 2 hours, and did so when I went to Suweida. Earlier the buses were faster (competing) but as Rami told me there had been a terrible accident and after that the buses must reduce the speed. The bus back from Suweida to Damascus took 1,5 hours though, but then I could not read on the bus as it was shaking to much.
In Suweida the buses stop just outside the busstation from where the small funky buses to Qanawat leaves.
The bus ride to Qanawat takes about 15 minutes and cost 3 SP. I sat next to an English teacher who told the driver where I wanted to go when he went off. The bus took me to the ruins and the driver did not want to have any money.
About 5-10 minutes by car south of Qanawat is a small village known as Sia (sometimes spelt Si'a, Siah, Seeah or Si). It contains the ruins of a historically and architecturally important temple of Baal-Shamin. It was originally built by the Nabateans in the 1st century BC, and became an important pilgrimage site, but was expanded under the Romans, up to around 200 AD. For archaeologists, it is considered a unique example of Nabatean temple architecture, despite heavy Roman influence of the latter period. Around 1900, the temple had survived very much intact and supposedly had incredibly beautiful decorations, as was documented by some travellers in the 19th and early 20th century. Unfortunately, a few years later, the Ottomans dismantled the temple to use its stones in the construction of a barracks and most of the temple was thus lost forever. I did not visit Sia due to time limitations, but hope to do so on my next visit to the region. I wanted to include a tip on Sia to remind myself before the next visit and to suggest it to any reader.
Do not try to do it, the old spirits will follow you after, and try to take you to the other world.
It's one of the tombs which still in the old Church of Qanawat, you can see the how difficult to make one like this., look at the picture below.
Below are references and recommended reading:Syria - A Historical and Cultural Guide, by Warwick BallMonuments of Syria - An Historical Guide, by Ross BurnsSyria - A Selection of Reports, by Carol MillerRome in the East, The Transformation of an Empire, by Warwick BallCanatha and Philippopolis, by Hassan HatoumSyrie - Guides Bleus, Hachettemore
The climate of this area of southern Syria is Mediterranean with some heat days in the summer ( the mean temp of July is 26 c ) , the winter is cool with snow in January ( mean temp. of January 2 c ) . Autumn , winter , spring are the wet seasons , there is virtually no rain during July – August -.more