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Hama is considered one of the oldest inhabited areas in the Arab World. Located in the central region of Syria 120 km from the Mediterranean Sea, the area combines a spectacular mixture of steppe, mountains and river plains. The area is dominated by the Al-Aassi river, known internationally as the Orontes river.

The Governorate boasts a population of around 1.7 million with some 410.000 living in the capital city, Hama. The climate of the Governorate is essentially Mediterranean, comprising four seasons: warm autumns, mild winters, warm springs and hot summers, eased by strong breezes. Hama is well known for its geographical variety, ranging from rich agricultural plains with fertile soil to semi-deserts, or from pastures ideal for grazing to forested mountains a thousand meters above sea level. Hama is renowned as a center for farming in Syria, with high yields of crops and excellent meat and dairy products. Hama Governorate includes the following cities Salamieh, Souran, Muhardah, Skeilbeyah and Misyaf in addition to Hama city the Governorate capital.

The city is 200 km to the north of Damascus and 60 km to the east of Banyas. It is a very ancient city, which has flourished continually since ancient times, and has known the successive civilizations of the Fertile Crescent. Hama has a long heroic history in defending Syria against foreign invasions. One of the outstanding battles was that of Qarqar, where the Assyrian army was defeated in 853 B.C. Unfortunately, few of its ancient relics have been preserved. However, Hama is well known for its enormous waterwheels ("noriahs") on the Orontes, which are as old as Hama itself.

One of Hama's ancient building is al-Jami' al-Kabir (the Great Mosque), which dates back to the 14th century and includes two tombs of two emirs who ruled Hama in the 13th century. Another mosque is that of Abu al-Fida, named after Hama's Sultan, who was a famous Arab geographer and historian. The city is often linked with his name. A third ancient mosque is the al-Nuri mosque, which was built in the days of Noureddin al-Zanki in 1129; on its wall appear inscriptions in both Arabic and Greek. Hama is particularly famous for its traditional industries, especially textiles and cotton cloth.

Hamah Air Base
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Overview of the Hamah Air Base, 27 October 1986

Close up of the Hamah Air Base, 27 October 1986

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Page last modified: 26-03-2012 18:40:57 ZULU