Bara, Syria

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Bara
بارة
Bara-Ruins.jpg
Ruins of Bara
Bara, Syria is located in Syria
Bara, Syria
Shown within Syria
Location Idlib Governorate, Syria
Coordinates 35°40′59″N 36°31′59″E / 35.683°N 36.533°E / 35.683; 36.533
Type settlement
Part of Dead Cities
History
Founded 4th century AD
Abandoned 12th century AD
Cultures Byzantine
Site notes
Condition ruined
Ownership Public
Public access Yes

Bara (Arabic: بارة‎) also called Al-Bara is one of the former "Dead Cities" in northwestern Syria. It is located in the Jebel Al Zawiah approximately 65 kilometres (40 mi) north from Hama and approx. 80 km southwest from Aleppo.

The settlement was established in the fourth century at an important trade route between Antioch and Apamea. Due to good location and excellent conditions to produce wine and olive oil, it flourished in the 5th and 6th centuries. When Muslims conquered the region and trading routes were disrupted and other Dead Cities were abandoned, Bara remained inhabited, most inhabitants remained Christians, and the town even became a seat of a bishopric subordinate of Antioch.

In 1098, it was conquered by crusaders (from there they later set off to the infamous cannibalistic massacre of Ma`arat al-Numan) led by Raymond de Saint-Gilles. In 1123, the town was reconquered by Muslims who built a small fortress. Later in the 12th century, after a severe earthquake, the town was abandoned.

Later, in the beginning of the 20th century, a modern village of the same name arose near the site of the ancient town and till today it has grown to the size of a small town.

Ruins are the most extensive of all Dead Cities and are scattered among fields, olive groves and orchards. Among many others, one can distinguish remains of at least five churches, three monasteries, several villas, two pyramidal tombs and one underground tomb.

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