"Bosra" Busra ash Sham by MM212
Busra ash Sham Travel Guide: 51 reviews and 254 photos
A sleepy provincial town in southern Syria, Bosra boasts a glorious ancient history. Little is known about its origins, but it was mentioned in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs in Karnak, which recorded the invasion of Palestine and Syria by Thutmosis III around 1400 BC. As a frontier town, on the southern limits of the Hauran region, where the Fertile Crescent meets the Arabian Desert, Bosra developed strong ties with the merchants of Arabia, who referred to it as Bosra-ash-Sham, i.e. "Bosra of Greater Syria". It became an entrepôt of traders who brought wealth and prosperity, making it a lucrative prize for many a king. The Seleucids dominated it after Alexander the Great, then lost it to Judas Maccabeus in 163 BC. Shortly thereafter, Bosra joined the Nabataean Kingdom and grew in importance, especially after 70 AD, when it was favoured by King Rabbel II over both Petra and Hegra as the capital city.
In 106 AD, Bosra and the whole Nabataean Kingdom were annexed by Rome under Emperor Trajan, and the city was made the capital of the Roman Provincia Arabia. It was renamed Nova Trajana Bostra (with an extra "t" in Bostra), and was made a Roman Colony as it witnessed the construction of many grand monuments, including the treasured Roman Theatre, the most complete to have survived to the modern era. Bosra was one of the first cities to embrace Christianity as it became the seat of influential bishops who greatly contributed to early Christian thought. Impressive Cathedrals and churches filled the city and their designs inspired church construction in all of Christendom.
Moslem Arab armies conquered Bosra peacefully in 634 AD, giving it another golden age as it found itself on the crucial the pilgrimage route from Damascus to Mecca. Its importance persisted until the region was devastated by Mongol invasions, the last of which occurred in 1401 by Tamerlane. Thereafter, Bosra and its surroundings went into oblivion and were eventually all but abandoned. In the middle of the 19th century, the Hauran region was repopulated by Druze tribes escaping conflict in Mount Lebanon. Many settled within the ruins of Bosra where they found intact structures to turn into houses or to dismantle for use to build new ones. Sadly, the repopulation of Bosra may have caused more destruction to the ancient structures than the previous 1700 years, but seeing persistent life within the ruins is exactly what makes this archaeological site so unique (imagine if Pompei were still inhabited). Syrian authorities have been gradually moving the locals to the modern part of Bosra to free the ruins for excavation and reconstruction. Eventually, Bosra will be emptied out entirely and turned into one of the best preserved and most complete ancient cities around.
Bosra lies at the southern end of the fertile region of Hauran, dominated to the west by the gentle sloping 1800-metre... more travel advice
Flanking the South Roman Baths of Bosra are two open courtyards said to belong to the Baths complex. The courtyards are... more travel advice
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Latest: Apr 7, 2010