Shahba' Travel Guide

  • Philippopolis Mosaic of Dionysus, Dec 2010
    Philippopolis Mosaic of Dionysus, Dec...
    by MM212
  • The Kalybé of Philippopolis, Dec 2010
    The Kalybé of Philippopolis, Dec 2010
    by MM212
  • Kalybé - Dec 2010
    Kalybé - Dec 2010
    by MM212

Shahba' Things to Do

  • The Palace

    Adjacent to the Kalybé on the north side are the remains of a Roman palace. It might have been the centre of the Roman government of the city or even the rulers residence. The ruins of the palace were incorporated into a residence constructed during the Ottoman period.

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  • The Kalybé

    One of the most prominent remains of Philippopolis, this stage-like structure is believed to be a Kalybé. Such a structure, found in many of the Roman cities of this region, is of Semitic/Nabataean origin and resembles a nymphaeum. In fact, the two types of structures are so similar that the earliest archaeologists mistakenly identified the Kalybé...

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  • Hexastyle Temple

    Three and a half of the six original Corinthian columns of this temple are still standing along the Decumanus Maximus of Philippopolis (Shahba). In the modern era, these columns are now in the front porch of a house (how lucky the owners are!) but they once preceded a Roman temple. Although it was named by archaeologists as the Hexastyle Temple...

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  • Tell Shihan & Modern Shahba

    The modern town of Shahba was built around Tell Shihan. It is an extinct volcano that dominates the town. Otherwise, Shahba is a sleepy provincial town that stretches around the old city of Philippopolis on the north-western slopes of Jebel Druze (or Jebel al-Arab) of the Hauran region. See the attached photos.

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  • Roman Baths

    Designed in the Imperial Roman style, the Baths of Philippopolis were of impressive proportions. Although much has perished, the remaining walls and high arches demonstrate the original scale of the baths, which contained the same three halls seen in baths in Rome: frigidarium, tepidarium, and caldarium. They were clearly intended for a city larger...

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  • Decumanus Maximus

    When the Roman Emperor, Philip the Arab, decided to transform his birthplace hamlet into a grand colonia Romana named Philippopolis, he designed the new city under a Hippodamian grid plan. It contained a cardo maximus and a decumanus maximus, the north-south and east-west axes, respectively. Eighteen centuries later, these two streets continue to...

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  • Ottoman-period architecture

    When Shahba was repopulated by the Druze tribes fleeing Lebanon in the 19th century, they reconstructed the town using existing stones from the ruins of Philippopolis. Much of this Ottoman-period architecture is still extant and is recognisable by the black basalt stones and recycled Roman materials.

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  • Temple of Julius Marinus

    Sometimes referred to as the Philippeion, this rectangular temple was erected by Emperor Philip the Arab in honour of his deified father Julius Marinus. In additional to being a temple, it was intended as a burial place for the family of the Emperor, but it is unclear whether or not any of them was actually laid to rest here. The Temple is situated...

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  • Musée de Chahba

    Built over the ruins of a Roman villa, the Museum of Shahba (le Musée de Chahba) contains a small but exquisite collection of mosaics found in situ. It is one of the highlights of the visit to Shahba, but only takes a few minutes to see. Note that the museum is closed on Tuesdays, which happened to be the day I visited! Luckily, the caretaker was...

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  • Ramparts & Gates

    Roughly square in shape, Philippopolis was surrounded by a defensive wall. Each side measured around 900 metres in length and was pierced by four gates, one on each side. Parts of the wall are still visible to this day, along with the northern and southern gates. The attached photos are of the southern gate of the city.

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  • The Theatre

    Located south of the Philippeion Square (Forum), the Theatre of Philippopolis was the last constructed in Syria. With a diameter of 40 metres, it is quite small, but has survived rather well over the centuries.

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  • Hexastyle Temple: Sculptured Pillar

    Between the upright columns of the Hexastyle Temple is a pillar with a Latin inscription and a sculpture, possibly of a Semitic deity. It is likely that the pillar was placed here from elsewhere around Shahba, rather than belonging to the Hexastyle Temple. I was unable to find any information about it, so if you know anything, please drop me a...

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  • Aqueduct

    The sole remnant of the aqueduct of Philippopolis is this shapeless tower. It is located on the other side of the modern street, across from the entrance into the Roman Baths. It once brought water from the nearby hills into the city and particularly into the baths.

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  • Amphitheatre in Bosra, from the top

    I couldn't resist shooting some pellicule from the top of the wonderful Roman amphitheatre. There was nobody to see but that was perfect for me.

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  • Amphitheatre in Bosra, steep steps

    You shouldn't have high anxiety when you walk down the steep steps of the famous Roman amphitheatre, one of the best preserved in the Middle East.The steps are quite steep and fallling down would cause you a lot of harm.

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  • Great Roman Amphitheatre in Bosra

    Could you be believe we were there all by ourselves in this wonderful place? Well, I couldn't. How come not more people come to visit this wonderful site?I don't know but on the other hand I'm glad to have been there all alone.

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  • Great Roman Amphitheatre in Bosra

    This is an overview of the wonderful theatre in Bosra.It's considered as being one of the best preserved Roman theatres in the Middle East. Next to Aspendos in Turkey it must be one of the most impressive I've ever seen.It seats 15 000 and its stage is 45 meters in length and 8 meters in depth

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  • Mosaics

    There are many mosaics resembling Greek Myth .In Syria During the Roman domination epoch , the most respectful language was Greek , alongside with the local language which was Aramaic and its dialects , so all the writings were in Greek language rather than Latin language .This mosaic in the picture is called Orpheus playing among animals . so if...

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  • Shahba Museum

    This museum was constructed over an old Roman villa , Which had magnificent floor mosaics . This in situ museum was constructed in 1962 in order to preserve the mosaics , and to resemble the Roman villa that was once here .In this museum there is a marvelous collection of mosaics , many sculptures from this town .The entrance fee is about 1.15 Euro...

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  • The Philippeion 3

    This is the yard in the Philippeion temple , the stones of this tetragon is in a notably perfect state of conversation , even though it has passed more than 1700 years after cobbling it .

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  • The Town's Roman Streets : The Cardo

    The main lane of the town , still as the others in a perfect state . Notably several magnificent Corinthian columns still standing at one side of the Cardo , which was part of a Portico .Some of these columns are now in the garden of a modern house , What a strange combination of architecture .

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  • The Town’s Roman Streets : The Decumanus

    The Town’s basalt cobbled streets still in a perfect state of conversation , and still been usable today as any new constructed streets in this modern world , for cars , lorries and pedestrians … In this photo appears the Decumanus , with an astonishing trend , the old roman agora , with many roman shops in the western side of the lane , but with...

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  • The Amphitheatre 2

    This amphitheatre was made up from basalt , so it is noticeable that there is practically no decoration whatsoever , regarding the stubbornness of this region’s basalt stones .Only small fish in relief on the lower part of the walls pointing the way for the public towards the tiers of the amphitheatre is noticeable .

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  • The Amphitheatre 1

    It is one of the best conserved parts of the old town , the theatre has a diameter of 43 meters , and it is just behind the Philippeion temple .

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  • The Philippeion 2

    In the southern side of the Philippeion temple complex stands a big room with many stairs , the writing on console shows that this room was designed for the emperor himself . when entering the throne place could be seen inside with seating places around . In the right angle a small hollow in the wall could bee observed , and this leads to the roof...

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  • The Public Baths 2

    There is also many annexes in the baths served as libraries , leisure rooms , gymnasium , like this one on the photo thought to be a gymnasium, a lot of sculptures and antiques were unearthed from these annexes .

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  • The Public Baths 1

    A big structure with many parts , some of them for public and some were for notables . it has now three major parts . 1-Cold room with a pool and water tubs2-Warm room3-Hot room .

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Shahba' Restaurants

  • chrisvandenbroucke's Profile Photo

    by chrisvandenbroucke Written Mar 22, 2004

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    In Bosra we found a McD's.
    I never eat in such places but I always go in because my sister-in-law has worked in a Belgian McD's

    Bosra, McDonald's
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

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Shahba' Transportation

  • maykal's Profile Photo

    by maykal Written Nov 28, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Hauran region has its own special bus station to the south of the old city. From Straight Street heading to Bab Sharqi, take a right turn and keep going out of the old city until you come to a wide highway...cross over and turn right...then left and the bus station is off the traffic island. If you get lost, ask for Yarmouk bus station. Buses run to Shahba whenever they are full, roughly every hour or so...and if you can't find any, get a bus to Suweida and hop out at the junction for Shahba...it is only a short walk. Returning to Damascus, don't leave it too late...the last bus does a lap round town about 6pm, and you should be on it! If you miss it, get a taxi to Suweida where there might be buses going to Damascus or, as a last resort, there are hotels.

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Shahba' Favorites

  • MM212's Profile Photo

    by MM212 Updated Feb 6, 2011

    Favorite thing: Below are references and recommended reading:

    Syria - A Historical and Cultural Guide, by Warwick Ball

    Monuments of Syria - An Historical Guide, by Ross Burns

    Syria - A Selection of Reports, by Carol Miller

    Rome in the East, The Transformation of an Empire, by Warwick Ball

    Canatha and Philippopolis, by Hassan Hatoum

    Syrie - Guides Bleus, Hachette

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