over an area of 6 Km sq. is the dead city of Al Bara, often
considered one of the most important and beautiful in Syria. It is
situated 35 Km south of Idlib on the western slopes of Al Zawiye
Mountain and is at a height of 700 meters above sea level.
Settlement in Al Bara began in the 4th century as a center for
the production of olive oil and wine. It expanded in the 5th and 6th
centuries to become one of the largest of the Byzantine cities in
the area, and became the processing center for many of the
surrounding villages. The building style at Al Bara gives an idea of
the prosperity it enjoyed, and by the end of the Byzantine era it
included 5 churches that are still recognizable.
was left alone during the Muslim conquests of Syria and was taken
over by the Crusaders in 1098 by the Count of Toulouse who replaced
the residing Bishop with a Latin one. In 1123 it fell to the Muslims
who strengthened the defensive system by building Qalaat Abu Sufian.
The main vestiges at Al Bara include the pyramidal roofed tombs,
that are carefully engraved with acanthus leave decorations, the
five churches dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries and are
beautiful examples of Byzantine basilicas, and the Muslim fort of
Qalaat Abu Sufian.