"Hama - Epiphania - Hamath" Top 5 Page for this destination Hamah by MM212
Hamah Travel Guide: 131 reviews and 421 photos
Hama is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Syria. Graced by the Orontes river, beautiful medieval architecture, and less congestion than the largest cities, Hama certainly lives up to that title. The city is most famous for its numerous ancient water wheels, known as the Noriahs, whose sound and lazy motion add to the city's charms. Hama traces its roots back about 4000 years when it was the capital of a small kingdom called Hamath. Under the Greeks and later the Romans, the city was renamed Epiphania and gained importance. The Arabs conquered it peacefully along with the rest of Syria and restored its slightly modified semitic name, Hama. Although it remained of some importance during its history, it was always overshadowed by Aleppo to the north and Damascus to the south. Its more recent history is a little darker as its centre was the site of a battle between the government forces and a religious group opposed to the government. A large section of the old city, with its palaces and mosques, was erased in the 1982 bombings, which also took the lives of tens of thousands (note that this is a sensitive topic not to be discussed with the locals).
What little remains of the old city has been undergoing major restoration work in the past year or two. Encouragingly old buildings are being turned into galleries or restaurants, and some of the Noriahs are also getting a facelift, rather than being left to decay.
The location of Hama makes it an ideal stopping point for discovering western Syria, which is rich in archeological sites and medieval castles. Hama was a quick stopping point during my two trips to Syria in December 2006 and March 2008. With each brief visit, I was able to discover a bit more of the city. I've outlined the few observations I've made during my short visits, but there is much more to Hama than in my tips. I hope to return to Hama to further discover its monuments and noriahs.
One of Hama's main attractions is the centuries old waterwheels, called "Noriahs". Although they were first utilised... more travel advice
All of Hama's Noriahs (waterwheels) fed arched aqueducts that transported water to nearby farms. These aqueducts are... more travel advice
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