"Qanawat - Canatha" Qanawat by MM212
Qanawat Travel Guide: 37 reviews and 122 photos
Named after the network of canals that channelled water to nearby farms, Qanawat traces its roots back to pre-Roman times. Although its origins are uncertain, it was likely founded by the Nabateans along with other towns in the Hauran in the last few centuries BC. Its importance was in part due to a Nabatean temple situated a short distance south (whose ruins are now in a village called Sia), which became an important pilgrimage site even as the Roman Empire occupied the region. As the town - known then as Canatha - prospered, it became the largest and the only one in the Hauran to join the Decapolis cities, the semi-autonomous federation of ten cities under the Romans that included Gerasa (Jerash), Damascus, and Philadelphia (Amman). As Christianity swept the region, Biblical Canatha became the seat of a bishop, but by then it had already begun its decline along with the whole region, in part due to Persian invasions. This decline continued even as the Arabs replaced the Eastern Roman Empire in 637 AD, and especially accelerated when the Abbasids transferred the capital from Damascus to Baghdad in the 8th century. When Tamerlane annihilated the region, Qanawat fell into oblivion. It was not until the 19th century, when many Druze fled the Lebanese mountains and resettled in the ruined towns of the Hauran, that the town came back to life. This coincided with greater interest in the archaeology of the region, and since then, any remaining ancient ruins have struggled between archaeological interest and their use as quarries for new construction.
Qanawat is an easy day trip from Damascus or Amman (if the Syrian visa is obtained in advance). A visit is best combined with a few of the many towns in the region with great Roman ruins, including Bosra, Shahba and Suweida.
The Hauran countryside just outside Qanawat is blessed with a fertile soil and relatively abundant water. This is all... more travel advice
On the north-eastern side of the Seraya complex are the ruins of additional buildings. One part is thought to have been... more travel advice
Written Jan 24, 2011
The Seraya: Western Basilica
Written Jan 24, 2011
The Seraya: Eastern Basilica
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