Bara, Syria

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Ruins of Bara
Bara, Syria is located in Syria
Bara, Syria
Shown within Syria
LocationIdlib Governorate, Syria
Coordinates35°40′59″N 36°31′59″E / 35.683°N 36.533°E / 35.683; 36.533
Part ofDead Cities
Founded4th century AD
Abandoned12th century AD
Site notes
Public accessYes

Country Syria
GovernorateIdlib Governorate
DistrictAriha District
 (2004 census)[1]
 • Total10,353
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)

Bara or al-Bara (Arabic: بارة‎) is one of the former "Dead Cities" in northwestern Syria. It is located in the Zawiya Mountain approximately 65 kilometres (40 mi) north from Hama and approx. 80 km southwest from Aleppo. Al-Bara is also town in Ariha district. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), al-Bara had a population of 10,353 in the 2004 census.[1]

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 under Peter of Narbonne.[2]

In 1098, it was conquered by crusaders (from there they later set off to the infamous cannibablistic massacre of Ma`arat al-Numan) led by Raymond de Saint-Gilles. The town was taken by Ridwan in 1104 and retaken by Tancred a year later. In 1123, the town was reconquered by Belek Ghazi 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.


  1. ^ a b General Census of Population and Housing 2004. Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Idlib Governorate. (in Arabic)
  2. ^ Westervelt, Eric (22 October 2008). "Al Bara And Serjilla: A Taste of Syria's 'Dead Cities'". Retrieved 2 March 2018.

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