"Apamea - Afamia" Top 5 Page for this destination Apamea by MM212

Apamea Travel Guide: 54 reviews and 320 photos

One of Syria's most impressive ancient sites, Apamea possesses the longest colonnaded avenue surviving from the Roman world. Apamea traces its roots to the Persians who, during the Achaemenid Empire's occupation of the eastern Mediterranean, founded a settlement on the site and named it Pharnake. Upon the arrival of Alexander the Great, it was renamed Pella, though it was not until the 3rd century BC, during the Seleucid period, that the city was named Apamea, after Apama, the wife of Seleucus Nicator. Apamea then flourished and expanded, and saw its cardo maximus and decumani drawn. The Romans, who arrived in 64 BC under Emperor Pompey, witnessed the city's destruction in an earthquake in 115 AD, though not before Marc Antony and Cleopatra had made a stop here as a married couple. Shortly after the destructive earthquake, the entire city, including the colonnaded cardo maximus as we see it today, was rebuilt. The lavish reconstruction made Apamea one of Syria's most important cities and ensured its continued apogee for several more centuries. The city's glory continued until it was destroyed at the hands of the Persian - those same ones who had built its predecessor Pharnake - during an invasion in 540 AD.

Although the city remained inhabited after the arrival of the Arabs and the Crusaders, its importance gradually faded. The terrible earthquakes of the 12th century ensured its final destruction and Afamia, as it is known in Arabic, was never to be rebuilt.

Against the backdrop of scenic fields and mountains, this legendary cardo maximus is captivating. Apamea was a mere stop on my Syria itinerary, on the way from Hama to Aleppo, but one of the most memorable. Perhaps it was the setting, the lack of other tourists, the deep blue skies, or the endless colonnades, but something about Apamea was magical.

Syria itinerary in Dec 2006:

Damascus - Maaloula - Krak des Chevaliers - Homs - Palmyra/Tadmur - Hama - Apamea - Aleppo - Al Barah/Serjilla - Damascus

Syria & Lebanon itinerary in Mar 2008:

Damascus - Hama - Apamea - Aleppo - Saint Simeon - Moushabbak Church - Hama - Homs - Damascus - Beqaa Valley & Beirut

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:Magical site, impressive ruins
  • Last visit to Apamea: Mar 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (25)

Comments (3)

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Apr 10, 2008 at 11:42 AM

    The longest colonnade avenue looks so unexpectedly here. I havent seen anything like that no in Greece nor in Rome. Really off the beaten tourist path... Thanks Momo for sharing!

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2007 at 8:26 AM

    I too think Apamea is a magical place. Great photos here. Did you get to the museum in the ld caravanserai with its wonderful mosaics? Wonderful collection and so atmospheric. leyle

  • iwys's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2007 at 1:21 PM

    I like your travelogue photos. It is surprising how few people are interested in Apamea, as it is almost as impressive as Palmyra. I found it quite deserted. Was it very quiet when you were there?


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