as Pharnake before the conquest of Alexander the Great, it became
one of the most beautiful cities of the Hellenistic Orient.
Taken over by Seleucos Nicator, a lieutenant of the great
Macedonian conqueror, it became one of the three main cities of the
Seleucid Empire. With Antioch on the Orontes and Seleucia on the
Tigris this Empire spread from the Mediterranean to the Indus
valley. Later on Pompey attached it to the Roman Empire, this era
and the following Byzantine era is to what Apamea owes its current
final works on it were in the 6th century, after it was occupied and
laid waste by the Persians then taken back by the Byzantines.
However when the Muslims arrived it showed little defense and it was
taken over easily.
Its prosperity continued to decline and the ancient fortified
acropolis was used by the Hamdanids in Aleppo
as an outpost. Trancred the Latin prince took it over from the
Egyptian Fatimides in 1106. Then the Crusaders who called in Femia,
kept it until 1149, when Nur Al Din conquered it. The Arabs then set
up Qalaat Al Mudiq, as the guardian for this part of the Orontes
valley, and in 1157 it was devastated by a large earthquake.
Apamea is most famous for its columned street or what is known as
Cardo Maximus by the Romans. This street is about 1.85 Km, and runs
directly from North to South. The street is approximately 37 meters
wide and was used for wheeled transport. It was lined on both sides
with civic and religious buildings.
On the road that leads to Khan Sheikhoun is a site with remains
of Roman and Byzantine residences. In the opposite direction lies a
beautiful theatre, and further on a museum, which was a Turkish
caravanserai used on the pilgrimage route. This museum now holds
beautiful mosaics collected from Apamea. Among the mosaics is one
depicting Socrates and the Sages. There are also some funerary
stelae and a sarcophagus with Latin inscriptions.