Latakia is Syria's main sea-port on the Mediterranean (186 km southwest of Aleppo).It has retained its importance since ancient times.Latakia was one of the five cities built by Saluqos Nikator in the 2nd century B.C.He named it after his mother, Laudetia.
Not many ancient remains have survived in Latakia, but there are four columns and a Roman arch from the time of Septimus Severus (circa 200 A.D.), in addition to a beautiful Ottoman construction called 'Khan al-Dukhan', which is now a museum.
Latakia is the sea-gate to Syria.It is well-provided with accommodation, and is well-placed as a base from which to explore the coastal regions of the country.
There are beaches, mountains, archaeological sites and many relics of the Crusaders, all within a few hours from each other.
The Syrian Coast
The Syrian cost consists of long stretches of beaches and green mountains. These mountains are mostly covered with pine and oak trees, and their slopes touch the shore.
This landscape repeats itself from Ras Al-Basit in the north to Tartus in the south. On the mountains, villages and towns are scattered, with springs of clear mineral water.
The Syrian seashore is about 175kms long and its numerous beaches are distinguished by soft sand, unpolluted sea, moderate climate and clear blue sky.
1- Latakia Museum:
Occupies a historical building which was an Inn (Khan) invariably used for sorting goods and as a meeting place for merchants. Later on, in the 18th century, it became a head office of Latakia Tobacco Company. What remains of this ancient monument is the ground floor which is composed of several colonnades and spacious halls which had been used for storing goods. Most of the walls of storehouses have been removed. The first raw of stones still remains. Most of the building composed of big square columns supporting ceiling. These columns are built from sand stones which are still used in Latakia until now.
2- QAL'AT SALAH AL-DIN
Formerly 'Saone' (and still known as Castle Sahyoun), it was recently named after the great hero of Islam, Salah al-Din, to commemorate the capture of the fortress in 1188.
Though the importance of the position had been exploited before the Crusades, this castle was described as the most impregnable Crusader fortress.It stands on a rocky spur whose vertical walls rise above the junction of two fast-flowing streams.As late as 1965 it was impossible to reach it except on foot or on horseback by a difficult climb, first downhill and then up again after fording a stream.The fortress was completely isolated from the plateau by a deep ditch was 156 m long, 18 m wide and 28 m deep.Its vertical walls show a smooth, fine yellowish rock surface.
Today there is a drawbridge and a road which provide easy access to the foot of this 'eagle's nest'.
Visitors can park their cars at the bottom of this ditch, opposite the horses's mangers and hitching holes carved out of the rock.
3- QAL'AT AL-MARQAB (AL-MARQAB CITADEL)
This citadel is only 6 km south-east of Banyas, and is 500 m above sea-level.It is enormous: there are not less than 14 sq and round towers jutting from the curtain wall that encircles the hilltop to form a triangular bastion.Its southern corner, sharper than the others and bristling with defences, has a keep rising above it like the prow of a ship.What makes it particularly glowering is the black basalt stone with which it was built.There are beautiful gardens and orchards surrounding it and sea is not far away.This citadel could accommodate 1000 people, in addition to the garrison, along with provisions to last them for five years.
It was not until 1285 that the troops of Sultan Qalaun defeated the last of the European Knights were granted 'the honours of war' and allowed to withdraw under safe conduct to Tartus and Tripoli.There is an Arabic inscription commemorating this great victory, carved on a band of white limestone at the top of the 'tour de L'Eperon' under the keep.
- Chastel Rouge
- Hosn al Sleiman
- Ras Al-Basset
- Ras Shamra
- Saladin Castel (SAHYOUN)
- Wadi Al-Oyyun
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