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Raqqa

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Located on the left bank of the Euphrates between Aleppo (188 km) and Deir al-Zor (105 km).It is an ancient city built by Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C.In 662 the Caliph Mansur built, on the ruins of Raqqa, a new city imiting the style of Baghdad which he called 'Rafiqa'. This is a new city that rose up out of the sand.It was inaugurated by President Hafez al-Assad in 1973.Al-Thawra, 'the Revolution', is the capital of the area of the Euphrate dam.

Raqqa city, the center of Raqqa Muhafazet, is located in this plain between the Euphrates and its subsidiary Baleikh river in Al-Jazirah region. It’s locations near the crossroads of the Euphrates basin qualified it to become a vital commercial center for the collection of crops, commodity, exchange and export. Above all this city was a center for the emergence of civilization and human gathering since the earliest stage of history. French Archeologist Maurice Davan said that Raqqa was inhabited by human beings in all stags of history. There are ruins in Raqqa plain which prove that the area was inhabited by the man of stone ages (6000-3000 B.C.)

But Raqqa Hellenic city which was built by Seleucus under the name (Nicoforium) goes back o the year ( 300-100 B.C.) The Roman-built Raqqa is located east of Baghdad gate district of the today’s city and goes back to the first, second and third centuries A.D. Then there is the Byzantine-built Raqqa which existed during the third and the fourth centuries A.D. in the eighth century, the Abbassite calif Abu Jafaar Al-Mansour built the Raqqa of the Abbassites. Then it became Al-Rasheed city and was extended to the north and east in the ninth century.

Raqqa is one of the most important centers of Arab and plated glass as well as engraved bricks.

The most important landmarks of the city area its historical wall (5 km), Baghdad gate, the minaret of Al-Rafika Mosque and the ruins of Al-Raqqa Abbassite Palace of Hercula were discovered later.


City History

Originally built by Alexander the Great, who called the site "Nicephorion", but nothing remained of it or of the "callinicos" of the Roman. As the Persians several times fought the Byzantines here, nothing has become down to us of Christian Raqqa. In 722, the Abbassid Caliph Al-Mansour founded a new city, "Al-Rafika", which quickly eclipsed ancient Raqqa, but in the 18th century, the Mongols laid waste the rich city. Raqqa is most famous as the summer resort of the Caliph Harun Ar-Rashid, of the Thousand and One Nights, who built his magnificent palace here, still standing today.

For its part, the Syrian department of Antiquities has started to uncover the remains of the palaces which were among the favorite residences of the Abbacies in the 9th century.

The principal remains are to the south-east of the present-day town, more or less on a line with the downstream bridge. A huge quadrilateral area, forming a shaded walk, bounds an ancient mosque which is revealed by a succession of archways and by a cylindrical minaret built of brick standing on abase of ancient stones. A few hundred yards further on, ramparts flanked by a big corner tower trace the shape of a horseshoe, illustrating the avowed intention of Al Mansour to build Al Rafiqa on the pattern of the circular plan of Baghdad. A copy also of the architecture then common in Baghdad, with a monumental doorway in baked brick surmounted by a series of small columns and niches with iwans, decorated in a very simple manner by staggering the positions of the bricks in relation to one another. All the rest round about is nothing but shapeless ruins apart, that is, from the recently discovered and restored Qasr al Banat (Palace of the Girls) A regional museum exhibiting regional collections found during recent excavations is open to the public.


Tourism Guide

One must visit the marvelous Baghdad Gate, the impressive city walls, the Mosque of Nur Eddin built in 1166, AD, and the new Raqqa Museum.

For its part, the Syrian department of Antiquities has started to uncover the remains of the palaces which were among the favorite residences of the Abbacies in the 9th century.

The principal remains are to the south-east of the present-day town, more or less on a line with the downstream bridge. A huge quadrilateral area, forming a shaded walk, bounds an ancient mosque which is revealed by a succession of archways and by a cylindrical minaret built of brick standing on abase of ancient stones. A few hundred yards further on, ramparts flanked by a big corner tower trace the shape of a horseshoe, illustrating the avowed intention of Al Mansour to build Al Rafiqa on the pattern of the circular plan of Baghdad. A copy also of the architecture then common in Baghdad, with a monumental doorway in baked brick surmounted by a series of small columns and niches with iwans, decorated in a very simple manner by staggering the positions of the bricks in relation to one another. All the rest round about is nothing but shapeless ruins apart, that is, from the recently discovered and restored Qasr al Banat (Palace of the Girls) A regional museum exhibiting regional collections found during recent excavations is open to the public.


Towns Around The City

  1. Ja'abar

  2. Rasafa

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