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.