Ancient Syria


Ancient Syria provided a link to Turkey, and other cultures, from the land of Canaan.

Immediately north of Palestine, occupying the northern section of the Levant, is Lebanon. North of Lebanon, acting as a buffer between Turkey and Palestine, is Syria. Syria's borders stopped where the Amanus Mountains, rising up to 7,000 feet, began 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.

Ancient Syria provided an important link with Turkey in the north, to Palestine in the south. Many important ancient cities were located in Syria.

Carchemish, which rested on the Euphrates River, and Haran, strongly tied with Abraham , connected Syria, with Assyria to the east.

Haran and Carchemish dominated the steppe land named Al-Jazirah.

The Ugarit Texts have provided scholars and archaeologists with much information about the Canaanite religious system.

It was this religious system that directly affected certain events throughout the history of Palestine.

Hamath, Ebla, and Aleppo were also important cities, as they all rested in valleys along the International Coastal Highway.

Syria was also home to important caravan cities, and vital caravan links, that stretched across the great desert of southern Syria.

Tadmor, one of the ancient world's most important caravan cities, connected Mari in the east with Damascus in the west.

A Map of Ancient Syria. Damascus remains its capital today.

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. Two mountain ranges lined western Syria along the coastline. The Amanus mountains, touched on earlier, and the Nusiriyeh mountains, reaching up to 5,300 feet, and Mons Cassius, 5,771 feet.

Though ancient Syria varied culturally throughout her early years, from around 1200 B.C. on, the Arameans dominated. Aramean kingdoms in Damascus, Aram-zobah, and Hamath emerge frequently throughout the Bible.

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 carried a significant influence, and attracted trade from other civilizations.

The kingdoms eventually fell to the Assyrians, however, as did the Northern Kingdom of Israel.


Study Resource

Ross Burns follows the history of Damascus from its obscure origins in the Bronze Age all the way through the Ottoman Empire, which ended in 1918. This fascinating book is full of visually stunning images, capturing the richness of this ancient and colorful city. Click on the link below to visit and Damascus!

Damascus: A History

POST YOUR COMMENTS ON SYRIA & PALESTINE. Have you visited Syria? Do you live in Syria? What about the land of Palestine? Click on the above link to give us your insights, thoughts, comments, and questions!

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