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Syria

Temple at Amrit

Dating back to the Phoenicians, this site is the remains of the city of Marathus. Marathus was probably founded by the Arvadians, the rulers of the nearby island of Arwad in the 3rd millennium BC. It flourished economically as a mainland religious center and a trading city.

Most of the remaining buildings date back to Persian rule in the 6th century BC, although it is evident that there is Mesopotamian and Egyptian influence in the architecture. It was captured by Alexander the Great in 333BC, and the main religious temple which was dedicated to the God of Melqart, was assimilated to the God Hercules. Around this temple is an artificial lake and a spring which was said to have healing powers. 

It lost its importance in the 2nd century AD, under the Romans, who preferred Antaradus (Tartous). Tartous on the Mediterranean had better access to large ships. 

Also found on this site is a stadium on the other side of the Amrit river (Nahr al Amrit) which dates back to the Hellenistic period. A necropolis which has two towers, which are named by the locals as Maghazel (spindles). Both towers are cylindrical and one is 7 meters high while the other is 4 meters. The first has uncompleted sculptures of lions on the base, which reflects the Persians. Further away is another funeral monument called Burj al Bezzaq (tower of the snail). It is a cube topped by a cornice, which used to end with a pyramid. 

 
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