UA-42101888-1 Homs | Syrian Friendship Association


Homs is located in a strategic point between the Desert and the coast in a break between the mountains known as the Homs gap. It is an industrial city and Syria's most important oil-refining center. It is also a main center for sugar refining and has a plant for treating phosphates, one of Syria's largest exported products, mined in Palmyra.

This city is very close to Tartous Syria's second port, and to the northern Lebanese border near Tripoli. It is also the usual stop for passengers traveling the long Aleppo-Damascus route.

Homs does not offer much to tourists, as it has always been an industrial city. Although excursions to the crusader castle, Krak des Chevaliers and other sites are available from here.

The History of Homs

This city goes back to long before the Roman times, although it was always overshadowed by the kingdom of Hama.

This city was known in Roman times as the city of Emesa and had strong connections with the Severid Dynasty. Julia Domna the daughter of a high priest of Emesa married Septimius Severus, while he was stationed here. He later became emperor of Rome. When he was transferred to Rome Julia took over and was a principal figure in the dynasty's fortunes. Emesa's fortunes were always tied with the trade city of Palmyra. As long as Palmyra flourished so did Emesa. When Zenobia was defeated at Palmyra in about 272 AD, Emesa declined.

Christianity established itself in Emesa early on, as 3rd to 7th century catacombs were found in houses in the eastern quarter, where quite a large population of Christians still live. After Arab conquest, it is said that 500 of the prophet's companions came and settled here. Homs became important, again but by the 18th century Homs had sunk into a state of weakness.

Copyright © Syrian embassy-London 2005