Ancient Syria


Ancient Syria provided a link to Turkey and other cultures from the land of Canaan. Syria is located to the immediate north of Israel.

The country has acted as a buffer between Canaan and Turkey over its ancient history. Syria's borders stop where the Amanus Mountains, rising up to 7,000 feet, begin in the northern limits of the country. The ancient Cilician gates provided an important pass through these mountains to the Cilician plain, which provided access to the Anatolian Plateau.

Many important ancient cities were located in Syria, or nearby its borders. Carchemish, which rested on the Euphrates River, was a strong city-state in antiquity. In 609 BC the Assyrians moved their capital from nearby Haran to Carchemish.  Egypt, allies with Assyria, marched to Carchemish to help Assyria retake Haran. It was this march by Egypt which was interrupted near Megiddo by Josiah, King of Judah.  Josiah was killed in battle by the Egyptians, who continued their march to Carchemish to join their Assyrian allies. From Carchemish, Egypt and Assyria gathered to battle the Babylonians and their allies in Haran. History labeled this as The Battle of Carchemish.

Haran was strongly tied with Abraham and connected Syria with Assyria & Mesopotamia to the east. Haran and Carchemish dominated the steppe land named Al-Jazirah. This land near the Balikh River was known as 
Aram-Naharaim - a name which appears in the Old Testament five times.  Hamath, Ebla, and Aleppo were also important cities, as they all rested in valleys along the International Coastal Highway.

Damascus was especially active against Israel, and appeared in many conflicts and battles throughout the Old Testament. Syria was an integral link to outer influences in ancient Palestine. Ancient kingdoms in Damascus and Carchemish, mentioned above, carried a significant influence and attracted trade from other civilizations.

Syria was also home to important caravan cities and vital caravan links that stretched across the great desert of southern Syria. Tadmor was one of the ancient world's most important caravan cities and connected Mari in the east with Damascus in the west.

This caravan route stretched across the entire desert, and was made possible only by the vital city of Tadmor. South of this route travel was nearly impossible. Damascus was another very important caravan city. Damascus was an oasis city, formed by the Barada River, and was located east of the Anti-Lebanon Mountain range.


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