"Suweida - Dionysias - Suda" As Suwayda' by MM212

As Suwayda' Travel Guide: 24 reviews and 51 photos

Founded as Suda by the Nabataeans in the 4th century BC, Suweida lies in the fertile region of the Hauran in southern Syria. In 23 BC, it was ruled by Herod the Great, and in 92 AD, it came under direct Roman rule, first as part of the province of Syria, then the province of Arabia. In the 2nd century AD, it was renamed Dionysias, after the Roman god of wine, Dionysus, who was equated with the Nabataean god, Dushara. When the city was conquered by the Arabs in the 7th century AD, its Semitic name was restored as Suweida, which means the "little black one" in reference to the black basalt stones of its buildings.

Nowadays, Suweida is the capital of the Governorate of Suweida in Syria. Its population consists mostly of Druze, and contains a sizeable minority of Greek Orthodox as well. Expansion of Suweida in the past couple of centuries has erased most of the town's ancient structures, with the exception of a few scattered remains. Its archaeological museum, however, is known for its splendid mosaics and other ancient artefacts. Other nearby towns, such as Bosra, Shahba and Qanawat, boast important and well-preserved ancient ruins, which can all be combined in a single day trip from Damascus, or from Amman if the Syrian visa is obtained in advance.

Jordan/Syria/Hijaz itinerary in Dec 2010/Jan 2011:

Jordan => day trip to southern Syria (Bosra - Suweida - Qanawat - Shahba) => back to Jordan, then to the Hijaz region of Arabia

  • Last visit to As Suwayda': Dec 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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