As Suwaydā’, Syria

Reading Time: 7 minutes

As Suwaydā’, Syria

Region: As Suwaydā’ is located in As-Suwayda Governorate


Geographic Coordinates: 32.712500, 36.566700
Climate: Data not available.
Population: 64730
Language: Arabic

As Suwaydā’, Also known as Sweida, Is a captivating city located in southwestern Syria. Nestled amidst the picturesque landscape of the Jabal al-Druze mountain range, It serves as the capital of the As Suwaydā’ Governorate. This region is renowned for its rich history, Diverse culture, And breathtaking natural beauty. The city’s origins can be traced back to ancient times, With evidence of human settlement dating back thousands of years. It has witnessed the rise and fall of numerous civilizations throughout history, Including Roman, Byzantine, And Arab rule. Today, This vibrant city stands as a testament to its storied past.

One of As Suwaydā’s most distinctive features is its unique blend of cultures and religions. The majority population consists mainly of Druze people who have inhabited this region for centuries. Their distinct traditions and beliefs have shaped the city’s character and are evident in its architecture, Cuisine, And local customs. Exploring As Suwaydā’ offers visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in its rich cultural heritage. The Old City area boasts narrow winding streets lined with traditional stone houses adorned with intricate carvings and beautiful courtyards. The Great Mosque stands tall as a symbol of religious tolerance within the community.

Nature enthusiasts will find themselves captivated by As Suwaydā’s stunning landscapes. Surrounded by rolling hills covered in olive groves and vineyards that stretch out into vast plains dotted with ancient ruins such as Qanawat or Shahba; it is truly a haven for outdoor activities like hiking or horseback riding. For those seeking historical insights into Syria’s past civilizations nearby archaeological sites offer fascinating glimpses into ancient life. The Roman theater at Shahba showcases exquisite architectural details while being surrounded by well-preserved Roman baths that once served as social centers for locals.

The local cuisine is another highlight not to be missed when visiting As Suwaydā’. Influenced by the region’s diverse cultural heritage, Traditional dishes such as safiha (meat pies), Fatteh (a layered dish of bread, Meat, And yogurt), And knafeh (a sweet cheese pastry) tantalize taste buds with their unique flavors. As Suwaydā’ is a city that effortlessly weaves together its historical significance, Natural beauty, And cultural richness. Whether you are exploring ancient ruins or indulging in local delicacies, This enchanting Syrian city offers a truly unforgettable experience for travelers seeking a deeper understanding of the country’s diverse heritage.



Important Landmarks

  1. As-Suwayda Museum: Located in the city center, this museum showcases artifacts from different periods of Syrian history, including Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic eras.
  2. Shahba Archaeological Site: Situated around 20 kilometers southwest of As Suwaydā’, this UNESCO World Heritage site features the ruins of an ancient Roman city with well-preserved structures like a theater, baths, temples, and a palace.
  3. Al-Mushannaf Palace: This historic palace was built during the Ottoman period and served as a residence for local rulers. It is known for its unique architectural style with beautiful arches and courtyards.
  4. Al-Qanawat Mosque: One of the oldest mosques in As Suwaydā’, it dates back to the Umayyad era (7th-8th century). The mosque features intricate stonework and is considered an important religious site.
  5. Jebel al-Arab Mountain: Also known as Mount Hermon, it is the highest peak in Syria and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. It attracts nature lovers who enjoy hiking or skiing during winter months.
  6. Jabal al-Druze Natural Reserve: Located east of As Suwaydā’, this reserve encompasses diverse ecosystems with unique flora and fauna species found only in this region. Visitors can explore its scenic landscapes through various hiking trails.
  7. Souq al-Hamidiyah Market: Although located in Damascus (around 100 kilometers north), many tourists visiting As Suwaydā’ also explore this bustling market famous for traditional handicrafts, textiles, spices, sweets, and souvenirs.

Please note that due to ongoing conflicts in Syria’s recent history some of these landmarks may have been affected, and it is essential to check the current situation and safety conditions before planning a visit.


Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture: The region is primarily an agricultural area, with a focus on the cultivation of wheat, barley, lentils, olives, grapes, and other fruits and vegetables.
  2. Olive Oil Production: As Suwaydā’ is renowned for its olive oil production. Many olive groves can be found throughout the region, and numerous olive oil mills operate here.
  3. Dairy Products: The dairy industry is significant in As Suwaydā’. Local farmers produce milk from cows and goats which is then used to make various dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, butter etc.
  4. Textiles: The city has a textile industry that produces fabrics like cotton textiles used for clothing manufacturing.
  5. Stone Quarries: There are several stone quarries in As Suwaydā’ that extract limestone and basalt rocks used for construction purposes.
  6. Food Processing: Apart from olive oil production and dairy products mentioned earlier, there are also food processing facilities that deal with meat processing (such as lamb) as well as fruit preservation (e.g., dried fruits).
  7. Tourism-related services: Due to its historical sites like ancient ruins such as Shahba City (ancient Philippopolis), Bosra amphitheater (UNESCO World Heritage site), Roman temples at Qanawat village among others; tourism-related services including hotels/restaurants have developed to cater to visitors exploring these attractions.

It’s important to note that the ongoing civil war in Syria has significantly affected economic activities across the country including As Suwaydā’.


Noteable History

  1. Nabatean Kingdom: As Suwaydā’ was part of the ancient Nabatean Kingdom, which thrived in the region from around the 4th century BCE to the 1st century CE. The city of Petra, located in present-day Jordan, was its capital.
  2. Roman Empire: During the Roman period, As Suwaydā’ was an important city known as Suada. It served as a strategic outpost on trade routes connecting Damascus to Petra and Palmyra.
  3. Byzantine Era: As Suwaydā’ continued to flourish under Byzantine rule (5th-7th centuries CE). Several Christian churches were built during this time, including Mar Elian Monastery.
  4. Islamic Conquest: In 634 CE, Muslims led by Khalid ibn al-Walid conquered As Suwaydā’. The city came under Muslim rule but retained its Christian population.
  5. Druze Community: As Suwaydā’ is predominantly inhabited by members of the Druze community since their migration from Lebanon in the 11th century CE. The city became an important center for Druze religious and cultural activities.
  6. Sultan Pasha al-Atrash: Sultan Pasha al-Atrash (1885-1982) was a prominent Syrian nationalist leader born near As Suwaydā’. He played a crucial role in leading armed uprisings against French colonial rule during Syria’s struggle for independence.
  7. Great Syrian Revolt: In 1925-1927, Sultan Pasha al-Atrash led one of Syria’s largest anti-colonial revolts against French occupation known as the Great Syrian Revolt or Great Druze Revolt.
  8. Modern Syria: As Suwaydā’ has continued to be an important cultural and historical center in modern Syria. It is known for its archaeological sites, including the Roman-era theater and tombs.

These events and people have shaped the history and identity of As Suwaydā’, making it a significant city in Syria.


Museums and Things To See

Travel Advisory for Syria

Travel Advisory for Syria

Due to the ongoing conflict in Syria, it is not advisable to travel to As Suwaydā’ or any other part of the country at this time. The safety and security of individuals should always be a top priority when considering travel destinations. It is important to consult with official travel advisories and stay informed about the current situation before planning any trips.

Travel Advisory:

  1. Due to the ongoing conflict, travel to As Suwaydā’ or any other part of Syria is not advisable.
  2. Ensure the safety and security of individuals is a top priority when considering travel destinations.
  3. Consult official travel advisories for up-to-date information on the situation in Syria.
  4. Stay informed about the current situation before planning any trips to Syria.


Sports Teams

  1. As Suwaydā’ is not known for having any professional sports teams.
  2. It is a small city located in southwestern Syria, primarily known for its historical and archaeological significance rather than its sports culture.
  3. However, like many other cities in Syria, football (soccer) is a popular sport among the locals.
  4. There may be amateur or local football clubs that exist in the area.
  5. Unfortunately, specific information about these teams and their histories is not readily available.


Cultural Events

Events in As Suwaydā’, Syria

  • 1. Al-Suwayda Summer Festival: This annual festival takes place during the summer months and includes various activities such as traditional music performances, dance shows, theater plays, art exhibitions, and local food stalls.
  • 2. Al-Qasr Festival: Held in the historic town of Al-Qasr, this festival celebrates the region’s ancient history and traditions. It features folkloric dances, traditional music concerts, handicraft exhibitions, storytelling sessions about local legends and myths.
  • 3. Olive Harvest Festival: As Suwaydā’ is known for its olive groves; hence this festival celebrates the olive harvest season. It showcases traditional olive picking techniques and offers visitors a chance to participate in harvesting activities. The event also includes olive oil tasting sessions along with cultural performances.
  • 4. Druze Pilgrimage (Al-Muwakib): As Suwaydā’ is an important religious center for Druze people who annually gather for spiritual rituals known as Al-Muwakib. During this time, thousands of Druze pilgrims from around Syria visit As Suwaydā’ to pay homage to their religious leaders buried in the region’s shrines.
  • 5. Traditional Wedding Festivals: These festivals showcase traditional Druze wedding ceremonies that include vibrant processions with horseback riders wearing colorful costumes accompanied by lively music and dancing.

Please note that due to ongoing conflicts in Syria since 2011, some events may have been disrupted or canceled entirely. It is always advisable to check current travel advisories before planning a trip to any region affected by conflict or political instability.


Cuisine

  1. Makloubeh: A traditional Syrian dish consisting of meat (usually chicken or lamb), rice, and a variety of vegetables cooked together in a pot. It is often seasoned with spices like cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.
  2. Mutabbal: A delicious eggplant-based dip made from roasted eggplants mixed with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil.
  3. Kibbeh: A widely enjoyed Levantine dish made from ground meat (often beef or lamb) mixed with bulgur wheat and various spices. It can be baked or fried.
  4. Al-Kanater Restaurant: Located in As Suwaydā’ city center, this restaurant offers a wide range of traditional Syrian dishes such as kebabs, grilled meats, shawarma wraps, and mezze platters.
  5. Al-Sultan Restaurant: This popular restaurant specializes in Levantine cuisine including local delicacies like makloubeh and mutabbal. They also serve grilled meats on skewers accompanied by flavorful dips.
  6. Abu Rami Sweets: Known for its delectable Middle Eastern sweets like baklava (layers of filo pastry filled with nuts and sweet syrup), knafeh (a cheese-filled pastry soaked in sweet syrup), basbousa (semolina cake soaked in rosewater syrup), etc.
  7. Al-Makhrour Restaurant: Situated near the ancient archaeological site of Shahba outside As Suwaydā’, this restaurant offers authentic Syrian dishes prepared using locally sourced ingredients such as fresh vegetables from nearby farms.

It’s important to note that due to the ongoing conflict in Syria since 2011, it is advisable to check the current situation before planning any travel or dining experiences in the region.


Parks and Recreation

  1. Al-Mahatta Park: Located near the city center, Al-Mahatta Park was a popular spot for locals and visitors. It offered green spaces for picnics, walking paths, children’s play areas, and benches.
  2. As Suwayda National Forest: This forest area provided opportunities for hiking and enjoying nature. Visitors could explore its trails on foot or by bike.
  3. Tennis Courts: Some sports facilities in As Suwaydā’ had tennis courts where people could play tennis recreationally or take lessons.
  4. Local Sports Clubs: There were sports clubs where people could engage in various activities like football (soccer), basketball, volleyball, swimming, and more.

Please note that due to safety concerns resulting from the conflict situation in Syria since 2011, it is advised to check with local authorities or reliable sources before planning any visits or engaging in recreational activities within As Suwaydā’.


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