Latakia

Latakia

Overview
Latakia, or Latakiyah ( Al-Lādhiqiyyah), is the principal port city of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, as well as the capital of the Latakia Governorate
Latakia Governorate
Latakia Governorate or muhafazah al Ladhiqiyah is one of the fourteen governorates of Syria. It is situated in western Syria, bordering Turkey. Its reported area varies in different sources from 2,297 km² to 2,437 km² . The Governorate has a population of 991,000 and is one of the...

. In addition to serving as a port, the city is a manufacturing center for surrounding agricultural towns and villages. Its population in 2009 was 650,558 and consisted of Sunni Muslims
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

, Alawite
Alawite
The Alawis, also known as Alawites, Nusayris and Ansaris are a prominent mystical and syncretic religious group centred in Syria who are a branch of Shia Islam.-Etymology:...

s and Greek Orthodox Christian
Greek Orthodox Church
The Greek Orthodox Church is the body of several churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity sharing a common cultural tradition whose liturgy is also traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament...

s.

Though the site has been inhabited since the second millennium BC, the modern-day city was first founded in the 4th century BC under the rule of the Seleucid empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

.
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Encyclopedia
Latakia, or Latakiyah ( Al-Lādhiqiyyah), is the principal port city of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, as well as the capital of the Latakia Governorate
Latakia Governorate
Latakia Governorate or muhafazah al Ladhiqiyah is one of the fourteen governorates of Syria. It is situated in western Syria, bordering Turkey. Its reported area varies in different sources from 2,297 km² to 2,437 km² . The Governorate has a population of 991,000 and is one of the...

. In addition to serving as a port, the city is a manufacturing center for surrounding agricultural towns and villages. Its population in 2009 was 650,558 and consisted of Sunni Muslims
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

, Alawite
Alawite
The Alawis, also known as Alawites, Nusayris and Ansaris are a prominent mystical and syncretic religious group centred in Syria who are a branch of Shia Islam.-Etymology:...

s and Greek Orthodox Christian
Greek Orthodox Church
The Greek Orthodox Church is the body of several churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity sharing a common cultural tradition whose liturgy is also traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament...

s.

Though the site has been inhabited since the second millennium BC, the modern-day city was first founded in the 4th century BC under the rule of the Seleucid empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

. Latakia was subsequently ruled by the Romans
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, then the Ummayads and Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

s in the 8th–10th centuries. Under their rule, the Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 frequently attacked the city, periodically recapturing it before losing it again to the Arabs, particularly the Fatimid
Fatimid
The Fatimid Islamic Caliphate or al-Fāṭimiyyūn was a Berber Shia Muslim caliphate first centered in Tunisia and later in Egypt that ruled over varying areas of the Maghreb, Sudan, Sicily, the Levant, and Hijaz from 5 January 909 to 1171.The caliphate was ruled by the Fatimids, who established the...

s. Afterward, Latakia was ruled by the Seljuk Turks, Crusaders
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

, Ayyubids, Mamluk
Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

s, and Ottomans
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. Following World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Latakia was assigned to the French mandate of Syria
French Mandate of Syria
Officially the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon was a League of Nations mandate founded after the First World War and the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire...

, in which it served as the capital of the autonomous territory of the Alawite
Alawite
The Alawis, also known as Alawites, Nusayris and Ansaris are a prominent mystical and syncretic religious group centred in Syria who are a branch of Shia Islam.-Etymology:...

s. This autonomous territory became the State of Alawites in 1922, proclaiming its independence a number of times until reintegrating into Syria in 1944.

Etymology


Like many Seleucid cities, Latakia was named after a member of the ruling dynasty. First named Laodicea , by Seleucus I Nicator
Seleucus I Nicator
Seleucus I was a Macedonian officer of Alexander the Great and one of the Diadochi. In the Wars of the Diadochi that took place after Alexander's death, Seleucus established the Seleucid dynasty and the Seleucid Empire...

 in honor of his mother, Laodice
Laodice of Macedonia
Laodice was a Greek noblewoman and wife of Antiochus , a general of distinction in the service of Philip II of Macedon. She was the mother of Seleucus, the founder of the Seleucid Empire and Seleucus' sister Didymeia. It was pretended, in consequence of a dream which she had, that Apollo was the...

, the original name survives in its Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 form as al-Ladhiqiyyah , from which the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 Lattaqui and English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 Latakia or Lattakia derive. To the Ottomans, it was known as , and its Latin name is .

Ancient settlement and founding


The location of Latakia, the Ras Ziyarah promontory
Promontory
Promontory may refer to:*Promontory, a prominent mass of land which overlooks lower lying land or a body of water*Promontory, Utah, the location where the United States first Transcontinental Railroad was completed...

, has a long history of occupation. The Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n city of Ramitha was located here, known to the Greeks as Leukê Aktê, "white headland". Ramitha dates at least to the second millennium BC and was a part of the kingdom of Ugarit
Ugarit
Ugarit was an ancient port city in the eastern Mediterranean at the Ras Shamra headland near Latakia, Syria. It is located near Minet el-Beida in northern Syria. It is some seven miles north of Laodicea ad Mare and approximately fifty miles east of Cyprus...

 a few miles further north. As Ugarit declined at the end of the second millennium BC, the better natural harbor facilities at Ramitha increased its importance.

The settlement became part of the Assyrian Empire, later falling to the Persians, who incorporated it into their fifth satrapy
Districts of the Achaemenid Empire
Herodotus divided the Achaemenid Empire into 20 districts. The following is a description of the ethnic makeup of the districts and the amount they paid in taxes, translated from Herodotus' Histories.-The Districts:-References:*...

, Abar-Nahara, beyond the river. It was taken by Alexander the Great in 333 BC following his victory at the Battle of Issus
Battle of Issus
The Battle of Issus occurred in southern Anatolia, in November 333 BC. The invading troops, led by the young Alexander of Macedonia, defeated the army personally led by Darius III of Achaemenid Persia in the second great battle for primacy in Asia...

 over the Persian army led by Darius III, beginning the era of Hellenism
Hellenistic period
The Hellenistic period or Hellenistic era describes the time which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was so named by the historian J. G. Droysen. During this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its zenith in Europe and Asia...

 in Syria.

After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, Northern Syria fell under the control of Seleucus I Nicator
Seleucus I Nicator
Seleucus I was a Macedonian officer of Alexander the Great and one of the Diadochi. In the Wars of the Diadochi that took place after Alexander's death, Seleucus established the Seleucid dynasty and the Seleucid Empire...

. He founded the city of Laodicea on the site, one of five cities named after his mother, Laodice
Laodice of Macedonia
Laodice was a Greek noblewoman and wife of Antiochus , a general of distinction in the service of Philip II of Macedon. She was the mother of Seleucus, the founder of the Seleucid Empire and Seleucus' sister Didymeia. It was pretended, in consequence of a dream which she had, that Apollo was the...

. Laodicea became a main center of Greek culture and one of the new satrapal headquarters. It was the main harbor for Apamea
Apamea (Syria)
Apamea was a treasure city and stud-depot of the Seleucid kings, was capital of Apamene, on the right bank of the Orontes River. . Its site is found about to the northwest of Hama, Syria, overlooking the Ghab valley...

, linked with a road across the Alawi mountains. Laodicaea became a major port, second only to Seleucia Pieria. It formed a tetrapolis
Syrian tetrapolis
The Syrian Tetrapolis consisted of the cities Antioch, Seleucia Pieria, Apamea, and Laodicea in Syria.-References:* Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed., s.v. 'Seleucia'....

, with Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

, Seleucia Pieria and Apamea, linking the four main cities of Seleucid Syria into a union known as the Syrian tetrapolis
Syrian tetrapolis
The Syrian Tetrapolis consisted of the cities Antioch, Seleucia Pieria, Apamea, and Laodicea in Syria.-References:* Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed., s.v. 'Seleucia'....

.

The city was described in Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

's Geographica
Géographica
Géographica is the French-language magazine of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society , published under the Society's French name, the Société géographique royale du Canada . Introduced in 1997, Géographica is not a stand-alone publication, but is published as an irregular supplement to La...

:

Roman rule



In 64 BC, the Roman legate Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 formally abolished the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

 and created the new Roman province
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

 of Syria
Syria (Roman province)
Syria was a Roman province, annexed in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of his military presence after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for seven centuries, until 637 when it fell to the Islamic conquests.- Principate :The...

. During the struggle for power between Augustus Caesar and Marcus Antonius, the latter managed to win temporary support from Laodicea during his brief governorship of Syria through the remission of certain taxes and the promise of autonomy. Following the defeat of Marcus Antonius, the Romans modified Laodicea's name, changing it to Laodicea-ad-Mare, and the city flourished again as an entrepôt
Entrepôt
An entrepôt is a trading post where merchandise can be imported and exported without paying import duties, often at a profit. This profit is possible because of trade conditions, for example, the reluctance of ships to travel the entire length of a long trading route, and selling to the entrepôt...

 for East-West trade, second only to Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

. This commerce was systemized with the construction of the Via Maris
Via Maris
Via Maris is the modern name for an ancient trade route, dating from the early Bronze Age, linking Egypt with the northern empires of Syria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia — modern day Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria....

, a coastal road that ran south from Antioch to Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 and Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

 via Laodicea. In the first century BC, Herod the Great
Herod the Great
Herod , also known as Herod the Great , was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of "the Great" is widely disputed as he is described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis." He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his...

, king of Judaea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

, furnished the city with an aqueduct
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

, the remains of which stand to the east of the town. Initially the Romans deployed four legion
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

s in Syria, one of which, the Legio VI Ferrata
Legio VI Ferrata
Legio sexta Ferrata , was a Roman Legion formed in 65 BC, and in existence up to at least 3rd century. A Legio VI fought in the Roman Republican civil wars of the 40s and 30s BC...

, was likely based in Laodicea.

In AD 193, the city was sacked by the governor of Syria, Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger was a Roman usurper from 193 to 194 during the Year of the Five Emperors. He claimed the imperial throne in response to the murder of Pertinax and the elevation of Didius Julianus, but was defeated by a rival claimant, Septimius Severus and killed while attempting to flee from...

, in his revolt against the new emperor, Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus , also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of...

. In 194, Septimius Severus reorganized Syria into five new provinces. One of these, Coele-Syria
Coele-Syria
Coele-Syria , or Cœle-Syria or Celesyria, traditionally given the meaning 'hollow' Syria, was the region of southern Syria disputed between the Seleucid dynasty and the Ptolemaic dynasty. Rather than limiting the Greek term to the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon, it is often used to cover the entire area...

, including all of northern Syria, briefly had its capital in Laodicea before reverting to Antioch. Septimius Severus considered Antioch to be more degenerate than Laodicea, and sought to punish Antioch for having supported the aspirations of his rival Pescennius Niger.

Septimius Severus endowed Laodicea with four colonnade
Colonnade
In classical architecture, a colonnade denotes a long sequence of columns joined by their entablature, often free-standing, or part of a building....

d streets that divided the city into a series of rectangles. Roman Laodicea, based on the foundations of the Seleucid grid, was laid out along a vertical axis stretching for 1.5-2 kilometers from north to south, linking the center of the town with the northern road to Antioch, and forming the cardus maximus (main commercial street). The east-west axis consisted of three main streets: the first linked the port to the citadel, the second linked the port to the Apamea road, and the third linked the port to a monumental four-way arch, or tetrapyle, which was erected at the point of intersection with the north-south colonnaded avenue. Septimius also built baths, a theatre, a hippodrome
Hippodrome
A hippodrome was a Greek stadium for horse racing and chariot racing. The name is derived from the Greek words "hippos and "dromos"...

, numerous sanctuaries and other public buildings in the city. Rome regarded Laodicea as a key strategic seaport in the prized province of Syria.

Throughout the third and fourth centuries, Laodicea remained dependent on Antioch. In 272, the city was seized by Zenobia
Zenobia
Zenobia was a 3rd-century Queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Roman Syria. She led a famous revolt against the Roman Empire. The second wife of King Septimius Odaenathus, Zenobia became queen of the Palmyrene Empire following Odaenathus' death in 267...

, the queen of the Palmyrene Empire
Palmyrene Empire
The Palmyrene Empire was a splinter empire, that broke off of the Roman Empire during the Crisis of the Third Century. It encompassed the Roman provinces of Syria Palaestina, Egypt and large parts of Asia Minor....

, following her abortive attempt to take Antioch from Emperor Aurelian
Aurelian
Aurelian , was Roman Emperor from 270 to 275. During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire's eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following...

. After the revolt of Antioch in 378, Laodicea returned to imperial favor and enjoyed prosperity into the Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 period. In 494, the town was damaged by the first of a long series of earthquakes. In 528, Emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 created the new province of Theodorias
Theodorias (province)
Theodorias was a Byzantine province created in 528 by Emperor Justinian I and named in honour of his wife, the Empress Theodora. It comprised a small coastal territory taken from the earlier provinces of Syria Prima and Syria Secunda. The new province remained part of the Diocese of the East. Its...

 out of the coastal belt around Laodicea, which was rebuilt and fortified against the increasing Persian threat. In 555, another earthquake devastated Latakia.

A sizable Jewish population lived in Laodicea during the first century. The heretic Apollinarius
Apollinaris of Laodicea
Apollinaris "the Younger" was a bishop of Laodicea in Syria. He collaborated with his father Apollinaris the Elder in reproducing the Old Testament in the form of Homeric and Pindaric poetry, and the New Testament after the fashion of Platonic dialogues, when the emperor Julian had forbidden...

 was bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 of Laodicea in the 4th century. The city minted coins from an early date.

Early Islamic era


Laodicea fell to the Rashidun army
Rashidun army
The Rashidun Caliphate Army or Rashidun army was the primary military body of the Rashidun Caliphate's armed forces during the Muslim conquests of the 7th century, serving alongside the Rashidun Navy...

 in 638, under general Abu Ubaida
Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah
Amir ibn `Abdullah ibn al-Jarrah , more commonly known as Abu 'Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah, was one of the ten companions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad who were promised Paradise as mentioned in early Islamic historical accounts and records...

, who reportedly had trenches dug around the town so that even horsemen could advance unobserved; they then pretended to retreat to Homs
Homs
Homs , previously known as Emesa , is a city in western Syria and the capital of the Homs Governorate. It is above sea level and is located north of Damascus...

, only to return at night and surprise the inhabitants. Christians who had left the city were allowed to return and retain their church. Laodicea was known to the Muslims as "al-Ladhiqiyah" or "Latakia", and Umar ibn al-Khattab, the reigning caliph during its capture, assigned it to the administration of Jund Hims
Jund Hims
Jund Hims was one of the four military districts of the Caliphate province of Syria. Its capital was Homs, from which the district received its name...

.

During its rule by the Umayyads, the town was devastated by a Byzantine raid in 705 and again in 719, when a Byzantine force supported by a fleet burnt the town and took many of its inhabitants into captivity. Restorations and reconstruction of the buildings and fortifications was begun by Caliph Umar II, who also ransomed the inhabitants from the Byzantines. His successor, Yazid II
Yazid II
Yazid bin Abd al-Malik or Yazid II was an Umayyad caliph who ruled from 720 until his death in 724.According to the medieval Persian historian Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Yazid came to power on the death of Umar II on February 10, 720. His forces engaged in battle the Kharijites with whom Umar...

, improved the fortifications and reinforced the Muslim garrison.

In the late 10th century, the Byzantines, under Emperor Nikephoros II
Nikephoros II
Nikephoros II Phokas was a Byzantine Emperor whose brilliant military exploits contributed to the resurgence of Byzantine Empire in the tenth century.-Early exploits:...

, began taking advantage of the confusion and instability in the late Abbasid era, seizing parts of the Islamic territory. In 970, Latakia fell, but in 980, the Fatimids captured the town and its Byzantine governor, Karmaruk, was later beheaded in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

. Finally, late in the century, it fell to the Turks under the suzerainty of Banu Munqidh of Shaizar
Shaizar
Shaizar, Shayzar or Saijar was a medieval town and fortress in Syria, ruled by the Banu Munqidh dynasty, which played an important part in the Christian and Muslim politics of the crusades.- Early history :...

, who ceded it to the Seljuk
Great Seljuq Empire
The Great Seljuq Empire was a medieval Persianate, Turko-Persian Sunni Muslim empire, originating from the Qynyq branch of Oghuz Turks. The Seljuq Empire controlled a vast area stretching from the Hindu Kush to eastern Anatolia and from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf...

 sultan Malik Shah I
Malik Shah I
Jalāl al-Dawlah Malik-shāh was born in 1055, succeeded Alp Arslan as the Seljuq Sultan in 1072, and reigned until his death in 1092....

 in 1086. However, many of Latakia's great public buildings were already in ruins by then.

Crusader, Ayyubid, and Mamluk rule



The first crusades reached Syria in 1097, and on August 19, 1097, twenty-eight ships from Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 under Guynemer of Boulogne
Guynemer of Boulogne
Guynemer or Guinemerz was a Boulognese pirate who played a role in the First Crusade.He assembled a fleet of Danes, Frisians, and Flemings and set out from northern Europe for the eastern Mediterranean in Spring 1097...

 penetrated Latakia's harbor, sacking the town and making it part of the Principality of Antioch
Principality of Antioch
The Principality of Antioch, including parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria, was one of the crusader states created during the First Crusade.-Foundation:...

. During the crusade, the southern ports of Latakia and Baniyas
Baniyas
Baniyas is a city of northwestern Syria, located at the foot of the hill of Qalaat el-Marqab , 55 km to the south of Latakia and 35 km north of Tartous , and a Catholic titular see under the Latin name of Balanea, which is presently vacant.It is famous for its orchards...

 were handed over to Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 officials by Robert of Normandy and Raymond of St. Gills. However, a few years later, in August 1099, Bohemond laid siege to Latakia with the help of the Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

n fleet led by Archbishop Daiberto Lanfranchi. Within a few months, though, Bohemond was taken prisoner by Danishmend. Seven months later, his nephew Tancred
Tancred, Prince of Galilee
Tancred was a Norman leader of the First Crusade who later became Prince of Galilee and regent of the Principality of Antioch...

 assumed the regency and laid embarked on to Latakia again. This time, it fell to him in 1103 after an eighteen-month siege. The following year, however, a Byzantine fleet under Admiral Cantacuzenus once more forced the Franks to capitulate, though the Byzantines were unable to take the citadel. It was not until 1108 that the Franks were able to consolidate their hold. With the aid of a Pisan fleet, Tancred seized Latakia after Bohemond had promised it to Emperor Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos, Latinized as Alexius I Comnenus , was Byzantine emperor from 1081 to 1118, and although he was not the founder of the Komnenian dynasty, it was during his reign that the Komnenos family came to full power. The title 'Nobilissimus' was given to senior army commanders,...

 as part of the Treaty of Devol
Treaty of Devol
The Treaty of Devol was an agreement made in 1108 between Bohemond I of Antioch and Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, in the wake of the First Crusade. It is named after the Byzantine fortress of Devol in Macedonia...

 in 1108. For their services, the Pisans and the Genoese
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 were granted enclaves in the town, as well as the right to trade freely in the port and the principality.

Under the Franks, Latakia became known as "La Liche", covering an area of 220 hectare (0.849424748903577 sq mi) and consisting of three separate parts. The port, originally an open bay with marble quay stones laid by the Romans, remained an important commercial center. The town proper, previously encircled by a continuous line of fortifications, now vanished. On two hills stood twin castles dominating the town. In Crusader times, the town had a French presence, a sizable Muslim population, and a large Greek Orthodox community, two of whose churches remain intact, the Church of the Virgin and the Church of St. Nicholas.

In 1126, the cities of Latakia and Jableh formed part of the dowry of Princess Alice
Alice of Antioch
Alice of Jerusalem was a Princess of Jerusalem. She later became Princess of Antioch.- Biography :Alice was the second daughter of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Morphia of Melitene. She has three sisters...

, daughter of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem
Baldwin II of Jerusalem
Baldwin II of Jerusalem , formerly Baldwin II of Edessa, also called Baldwin of Bourcq, born Baldwin of Rethel was the second count of Edessa from 1100 to 1118, and the third king of Jerusalem from 1118 until his death.-Ancestry:Baldwin was the son of Hugh, count of Rethel, and his wife Melisende,...

, who made an unsuccessful bid to assume the regency of Antioch. Alice later donated a house in the town to the Christian Knights Hospitallers, who made it their principal base in the region. In April 1126, Emir Sawar, governor of Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

, launched a raid and sacked the town, taking away many prisoners and large amounts of treasure. The town was further devastated by earthquakes in 1157 and 1170, in addition to attacks on the port.

On July 21, 1188, Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

 arrived before the walls of Latakia and forced the capitulation of the Crusaders two days later. By then, it had become a well-fortified and wealthy city. Saladin appointed Emir Sunkur al-Kilati as governor and gave the town a strong Muslim garrison. Guy de Lusignan, the Jerusalem king captured in the Battle of Hattin
Battle of Hattin
The Battle of Hattin took place on Saturday, July 4, 1187, between the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and the forces of the Ayyubid dynasty....

, was reportedly imprisoned and held for ransom in Latakia. In August 1190, Saladin had the port dismantled to prevent its capture by the advance of the Third Crusade
Third Crusade
The Third Crusade , also known as the Kings' Crusade, was an attempt by European leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin...

. After a failed attempt, Bohemond II succeeded in briefly taking the city in 1197, but he retreated soon after. Again under Muslim control, the city was rebuilt and the citadel restored. The Franks of Tripoli and the Hospitallers unsuccessfully attacked the town several more times. In the early part of the thirteenth century, a great mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

, Masjid al-Kabir, was constructed.

In 1207, the city's sizable Venetian
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 community received a trading concession from the Muslim governor. The agreement did not last long though; in December 1223, an army from Aleppo, fearing the onset of the Fifth Crusade
Fifth Crusade
The Fifth Crusade was an attempt to reacquire Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land by first conquering the powerful Ayyubid state in Egypt....

, destroyed all the defenses and dismantled the citadel. Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi
Yaqut al-Hamawi
Yāqūt ibn-'Abdullah al-Rūmī al-Hamawī) was an Islamic biographer and geographer renowned for his encyclopedic writings on the Muslim world. "al-Rumi" refers to his Greek descent; "al-Hamawi" means that he is from Hama, Syria, and ibn-Abdullah is a reference to his father's name, Abdullah...

 wrote that Latakia under the Ayyubids was "an ancient Greek city, with many antique buildings, and has fine dependencies, also an excellently-built harbor." He also mentioned that the city was formerly a part of Jund Hims, but by 1225, it was counted under the Aleppo District. With the first of the Mongol invasions and the coming to power of the Mamluks, Bohemond VI took possession of the town and rewarded the Knights Hospitallers for their support by allotting them half of the town and half of the surrounding areas. The Genoese
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 were thus reestablished at the expense of the Venetians.

Following the fall of the Principality of Antioch
Principality of Antioch
The Principality of Antioch, including parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria, was one of the crusader states created during the First Crusade.-Foundation:...

 in 1268 to the Mamluks under Sultan Baibars
Baibars
Baibars or Baybars , nicknamed Abu l-Futuh , was a Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. He was one of the commanders of the forces which inflicted a devastating defeat on the Seventh Crusade of King Louis IX of France and he led the vanguard of the Egyptian army at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, which marked...

, King Hugo III of Antioch signed a treaty with Baybars concerning Latakia. Under the treaty, concluded on July 4, 1275, the town obtained its freedom from the Muslims in return for an annual tribute. Remaining as a truncated Crusader enclave, Latakia had lost its prominence and was already declining as other ports, such as Tripoli
Tripoli, Lebanon
Tripoli is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in Lebanon. Situated 85 km north of the capital Beirut, Tripoli is the capital of the North Governorate and the Tripoli District. Geographically located on the east of the Mediterranean, the city's history dates back...

 and Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, developed.

Baybars was forced to surrender Latakia to Emir Sunkur of Damascus on July 24, 1281. Baibars regained control of the city after the fall of Sunkur. In 1287, an earthquake devastated the town and caused widespread damage to the fortifications, destroying the Pigeon Tower, the Pier Tower and the lighthouse. Taking advantage of this misfortune, Sultan Qalawun
Qalawun
Saif ad-Dīn Qalawun aṣ-Ṣāliḥī was the seventh Mamluk sultan of Egypt...

, who had already captured the great Hospitallers castle of Margat
Margat
Margat, also known as Marqab from the Arabic Qalaat al-Marqab is a castle near Baniyas, Syria, which was a Crusader fortress and one of the major strongholds of the Knights Hospitaller...

, immediately dispatched Emir Turuntay to attack the town. On April 20, 1287, Latakia fell to Turuntay.

In circa 1300, Arab geographer al-Dimashqi noted that there was no running water in Latakia and that trees were scarce, but the city's port was "a wonderful harbor... full of large ships." Latakia continued to suffer from constant wars and pillagers. It was attacked and burned again in 1366 by Peter I of Cyprus
Peter I of Cyprus
Peter I of Cyprus or Pierre I de Lusignan was King of Cyprus, and Titular King of Jerusalem from his father's abdication on 24 November 1358 until his own death in 1369. He was also Latin King of Armenia from either 1361 or 1368...

. Much of the town was in ruins and was less populated than the rival ports of Tripoli and Beirut, and the port was in a serious state of decline by 1450. In 1332, the Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta , or simply Ibn Battuta, also known as Shams ad–Din , was a Muslim Moroccan Berber explorer, known for his extensive travels published in the Rihla...

 also visited Latakia in his journeys.

Ottoman rule


Latakia came under Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 control after 1516 and was part of Ottoman Syria
Ottoman Syria
Ottoman Syria is a European reference to the area that during European Renaissance from the late 15th to early 18th century was called the Levant within the early period of the Ottoman Empire, the Orient until the early 19th century, and Greater Syria until 1918...

. The city continued to decline, and by the middle of the sixteenth century, the town had become a small dependent village. In Ottoman times, Latakia was noted for its cotton, olives, walnuts, mulberry trees and vineyards.

In the early eighteenth century, Latakia was governed by Yasin Bey and subject to the Sanjak of Tripoli, but a major uprising in the town resulted in his and his family's removal from authority. A new mosque, Masjid al-Jadid, was erected by the Ottoman governor of Damascus between 1733 and 1743. In 1810 and 1823, earthquakes caused major damage in the town and other coastal areas of Syria.

Despite losing its prominence as an important town, the port itself continued to remain extremely active and economically valuable. The port was receiving more than 100 ships annually in 1835, but the harbor itself was silted up and could only contain between four or six small boats. By the end of the nineteenth century, it received around 120 steamships and around 570 sailboats annually, most of which could only anchor outside of the harbor itself. In 1888, when Wilayat Beirut was established, Latakia became its northernmost town.

In the Ottoman period, the region of Latakia became predominantly Alawi
Alawi
The Alawis, also known as Alawites, Nusayris and Ansaris are a prominent mystical and syncretic religious group centred in Syria who are a branch of Shia Islam.-Etymology:...

. The city itself, however, contained significant numbers of Sunni and Christian inhabitants. The landlords in the countryside tended to be Sunni, while the peasants were mostly Alawi. Like the Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

s, who also had a special status before the end of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the Alawis had a strained relationship with the Ottoman overlords. In fact, they were not even given the status of millet
Millet (Ottoman Empire)
Millet is a term for the confessional communities in the Ottoman Empire. It refers to the separate legal courts pertaining to "personal law" under which communities were allowed to rule themselves under their own system...

, although they enjoyed relative autonomy.

French Mandate period




In the beginning of the twentieth century, Latakia was a small town with a population of 7,000, ruled from Beirut. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the town fell under the French mandate
French Mandate of Syria
Officially the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon was a League of Nations mandate founded after the First World War and the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire...

 established on August 31, 1920. Latakia became the capital of the autonomous territory of the Alawites, with a government under the authority of the mandatory French administration. In 1922, this territory, composed of Latakia and Tartus, became the State of Alawites and was integrated into the Federations of States. The French quickly set about restoring the port facilities by rebuilding the north and south moles and deepening the harbor from two to six meters.

In December 1924, French General Maxime Weygand
Maxime Weygand
Maxime Weygand was a French military commander in World War I and World War II.Weygand initially fought against the Germans during the invasion of France in 1940, but then surrendered to and collaborated with the Germans as part of the Vichy France regime.-Early years:Weygand was born in Brussels...

 announced the secession of the State of Alawites, which was proclaimed independent in 1925. In 1930, a fundamental law created a government of Latakia, and by 1931, the population of Latakia had grown to 20,000. In 1932, a plan for a new deep-water harbor was proposed.

The government of Latakia was incorporated into Syria in 1936, but it benefited from a special administration under the authority of the Syrian government. In the same year, the French were authorized to station troops in Latakia for five more years. With the loss of the ports of Alexandretta and Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 to Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 in 1939, Latakia became the main port in Syria, and there remained no alternative but to develop its port facilities.

In 1939, Latakia again became the capital of the autonomous territory of the Alawites, once again separate from Syria, only to be integrated once more in June 1944 following the Proclamation of Syrian Unity, which was confirmed in 1947 with the Proclamation of Independence.

Modern era


All but a few classical buildings have been destroyed, often by earthquakes; those remaining include a Roman triumphal arch
Triumphal arch
A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be...

 and Corinthian columns known as the Colonnade of Bacchus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

.

An extensive port project was proposed in 1948, and construction work began on the Port of Latakia
Port of Latakia
The Port of Latakia is the main seaport in Syria. Located on the Mediterranean Sea in the city of Latakia. The port is the main route in Syria for containers, though it also handles a good deal of metals, machinery, chemicals and food stuffs. In 2004, 5.1m tonnes were unloaded and 1m tonnes were...

 in 1950, aided by a US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

6 million loan from Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. By 1951, the first stage of the construction was completed, and the port handled an increasing amount of Syria's overseas trade.

In August 1957, 4,000 Egyptian troops landed in Latakia under orders from Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

 after Turkish troops
Turkish Army
The Turkish Army or Turkish Land Forces is the main branch of the Turkish Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The modern history of the army began with its formation after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire...

 massed along the border with Syria, accusing it of harboring Turkish Communists.

A major highway linked Latakia with Aleppo and the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 valley in 1968 and was supplemented by the completion of a railway line to Homs
Homs
Homs , previously known as Emesa , is a city in western Syria and the capital of the Homs Governorate. It is above sea level and is located north of Damascus...

. The port became even more important after 1975, due to the troubled situation in Lebanon and the loss of Beirut and Tripoli as ports. In 1971, the port handled 1,630,000 tons of cargo. During the 1970s, the port was expanded, and in 1981, it handled 3,593,000 tons of imported goods and 759,000 tons of exports.

In 1973, during the October War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

 (Yom Kippur War), the naval Battle of Latakia
Battle of Latakia
The Battle of Latakia was a small but revolutionary naval battle of the Yom Kippur War, fought on 7 October 1973, between Israel and Syria. It was the first naval battle in history to see combat between surface-to-surface missile-equipped missile boats and the use of electronic deception.At the...

 between Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and Syria was fought just offshore from Latakia. The battle was the first to be fought using missile
Missile
Though a missile may be any thrown or launched object, it colloquially almost always refers to a self-propelled guided weapon system.-Etymology:The word missile comes from the Latin verb mittere, meaning "to send"...

s and ECM
Electronic countermeasures
An electronic countermeasure is an electrical or electronic device designed to trick or deceive radar, sonar or other detection systems, like infrared or lasers. It may be used both offensively and defensively to deny targeting information to an enemy...

 (electronic countermeasures).

During the 2011 Syrian uprising
2011 Syrian uprising
The 2011 Syrian uprising is an ongoing internal conflict occurring in Syria. Protests started on 26 January 2011, and escalated into an uprising by 15 March 2011...

 the city was attacked by government warships and tanks on 14 August 2011. Activists claimed that 25 people died during the attack.

Geography


Latakia is located 348 kilometres (216.2 mi) north-west of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, 186 kilometres (115.6 mi) south-west from Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

, 186 kilometres (115.6 mi) north-west of Homs
Homs
Homs , previously known as Emesa , is a city in western Syria and the capital of the Homs Governorate. It is above sea level and is located north of Damascus...

, and 90 kilometres (55.9 mi) north of Tartus. Nearby towns and villages include Kasab to the north, Al-Haffah
Al-Haffah
Al-Haffah is a Syrian city administratively belonging to Latakia Governorate. Al-Haffah has an altitude of 194m. It has a population of 17,921....

, Deirmama
Deirmama
Deirmama is a village of Masyaf in Hama Governorate, Syria, located at the eastern side of the coastal Alawite mountains. It has two main springs, the southern and northern regions, and the central village spreads between them with one main road...

, Slinfah
Slinfah
Slinfah is a Syrian village, founded in 1929, administratively belonging to the governorate of Latakia. It is situated in the mountains called Al-Ansariyah mountains and is 1100 meters above sea level. Slinfah is 50 kilometers east of the capital city, Latakia...

 and Qardaha
Qardaha
Qardaha is a village in northwestern Syria, in the mountains overlooking the coastal town of Latakia.It is mainly an Alawite town and the traditional home of the Assad family, that has ruled Syria since 1970. During the reign of Hafez al-Assad 1970-2000 the government poured massive investments...

 to the east in the al-Ansariyah mountain
Al-Ansariyah mountains
An-Nusayriyah Mountains also known as al-Alawiyeen Mountains , both names refer to the Alawi sect which has traditionally lived there, and the Syrian official name, Coastal Mountain Range ; are a mountain range in northwestern Syria running north-south, parallel to the coastal plain...

 range, and Jableh and Baniyas
Baniyas
Baniyas is a city of northwestern Syria, located at the foot of the hill of Qalaat el-Marqab , 55 km to the south of Latakia and 35 km north of Tartous , and a Catholic titular see under the Latin name of Balanea, which is presently vacant.It is famous for its orchards...

 to the south.

Latakia is the capital of the Latakia Governorate
Latakia Governorate
Latakia Governorate or muhafazah al Ladhiqiyah is one of the fourteen governorates of Syria. It is situated in western Syria, bordering Turkey. Its reported area varies in different sources from 2,297 km² to 2,437 km² . The Governorate has a population of 991,000 and is one of the...

, in western Syria, bordering Turkey to the north. The governorate has a reported area of either 2297 square kilometres (886.9 sq mi) or 2437 square kilometres (940.9 sq mi) and a population of 943,000 (2007 estimate). Latakia is located in the Latakia District
Latakia District
Latakia District is a Syrian district administratively belonging to Latakia Governorate. Its capital city is the city of Latakia.The Province or "mouhafaza" used to be a separate Mandate given to France by the League of Nations and remained autonomous for two years until its incorporation into...

 in the northern portion of the governorate.

Climate


Under Koppen's climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

, Latakia features a Mediterranean climate
Mediterranean climate
A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin, and is a particular variety of subtropical climate...

 (Cwa) with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Latakia's wettest months are December and January, where average precipitation is around 160 mm. The city's driest month, July, only sees on average about 1 mm of rain. Average temperatures in the city range from around 12 degrees Celsius in January to around 27 degrees Celsius in August. Latakia on average receives around 760 mm of rainfall annually.

Demographics

Year Population
1905 25,000
1932 24,000
1943 36,000
1957 56,000
1970 126,000
1987 241,000
1994 303,000
2009 650,558


At the beginning of the 20th century, Latakia had a population of roughly 7,000 inhabitants; however, the Journal of the Society of Arts recorded a population of 25,000 in 1905. In a 1992 estimate, Latakia had a population of 284,000, rising to 303,000 in the 1994 census. The city's population continued to rise, reaching an estimated 402,000 residents in 2002.

Latakia itself has an Sunni Muslim majority, while the rural hinterland has an Alawite
Alawite
The Alawis, also known as Alawites, Nusayris and Ansaris are a prominent mystical and syncretic religious group centred in Syria who are a branch of Shia Islam.-Etymology:...

 majority of roughly 70%, with Christians making up 14%, Sunni Muslims making up 12%, and Ismaili
Ismaili
' is a branch of Shia Islam. It is the second largest branch of Shia Islam, after the Twelvers...

s representing the remaining 2%. The city still serves as the capital of the Alawite population and is a major cultural center for the religion. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, large numbers of Alawites immigrated to the city of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 in the south. A sizable Greek Orthodox population exists in Latakia, which serves as a diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

 and the largest congregation of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch. In 1825, there was a recorded population of 6,000-8,000 Muslims, 1,000 Greek Orthodox Christians, 30 Armenian Christians
Armenian Apostolic Church
The Armenian Apostolic Church is the world's oldest National Church, is part of Oriental Orthodoxy, and is one of the most ancient Christian communities. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD, in establishing this church...

, 30 Maronite Catholics, and 30 Jews.

An Armenian community of 3,500 still lives in the city, and there also exists a small Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 community. Within the city boundaries is the "unofficial" Latakia camp, established in 1956, and that has a population of 6,354 Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugees or Palestine refugees are the people and their descendants, predominantly Palestinian Arabic-speakers, who fled or were expelled from their homes during and after the 1948 Palestine War, within that part of the British Mandate of Palestine, that after that war became the...

s, mostly from Jaffa
Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Jaffa was incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical story of the prophet Jonah.-Etymology:...

 and the Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

. The entire population speaks Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, mostly in the North Levantine dialect.

Economy


The Port of Latakia
Port of Latakia
The Port of Latakia is the main seaport in Syria. Located on the Mediterranean Sea in the city of Latakia. The port is the main route in Syria for containers, though it also handles a good deal of metals, machinery, chemicals and food stuffs. In 2004, 5.1m tonnes were unloaded and 1m tonnes were...

 is the main route in Syria for containers
Intermodal container
An intermodal container is a standardized reusable steel box used for the safe, efficient and secure storage and movement of materials and products within a global containerized intermodal freight transport system...

, though it also handles a large amount of metals, machinery, chemicals and foodstuffs. In 2004, 5.1 million tonne
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

s were unloaded, and one million tonnes were loaded from Latakia port. New quay investments are underway in the port. The port is managed by a semi-autonomous state company. Latakia has an extensive agricultural hinterland. Exports include bitumen and asphalt
Asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

, cereals, cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

, fruits, eggs, vegetable oil, pottery, and tobacco
Latakia (tobacco)
Latakia tobacco is a specially prepared tobacco originally produced in Syria and named after the port city of Latakia. Now the tobacco is mainly produced in Cyprus. It is initially sun-cured like other Turkish tobaccos and then further cured over a pine or oak wood fire, which gives it an intense...

. Cotton ginning, vegetable-oil processing, tanning, and sponge fishing serve as local industries for the city.

The Cote d'Azur
Cote d'Azur, Syria
Cote d'Azur or the Blue Beach is a beach resort located north of Latakia, Syria along the Mediterranean coast, on a site of archaeological importance called Ras Ibn Hani. Latakia's two five-star hotels are located at the resort, in addition to the "village", which consists of private holiday...

 Beach of Latakia is Syria's premier coastal resort, and activities undertaken there include water skiing, jet skiing, and windsurfing. The city contains eight hotels, two of which have five-star ratings; both the Cote d'Azur de Cham Hotel and Lé Merdien Lattiquie Hotel are located 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) north of the city, at Cote d'Azur. The latter hotel has 274 rooms and is the only international hotel in the city.

Compared to other Syrian cities, window shopping and evening strolls in the markets is considered "a favorite past-time" in Latakia. Numerous designer-label stores line 8 Azar Street, and the heart of the city's shopping area is the series of blocks enclosed by 8 Azar Street, Yarmouk Street, and Saad Zaghloul Street in the city center. Cinema
Movie theater
A movie theater, cinema, movie house, picture theater, film theater is a venue, usually a building, for viewing motion pictures ....

s in Latakia include Ugarit Cinema, al-Kindi, and a smaller theater off al-Moutanabbi Street.

Latakia tobacco



Latakia tobacco
Latakia (tobacco)
Latakia tobacco is a specially prepared tobacco originally produced in Syria and named after the port city of Latakia. Now the tobacco is mainly produced in Cyprus. It is initially sun-cured like other Turkish tobaccos and then further cured over a pine or oak wood fire, which gives it an intense...

 is a specially prepared tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 originally produced in Syria and named after the port city of Latakia. Now the tobacco is mainly produced in Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. It is cured over a stone pine
Stone Pine
The Stone Pine , is also called Italian Stone Pine, or Umbrella Pine , and Parasol Pine. It is in the pine family Pinaceae and occasionally listed under the invalid name Pinus sativa. The tree is native to the Mediterranean region...

 or oak wood fire, which gives it an intense smokey-peppery taste and smell. Too strong for the tastes of most people to smoke straight, it is used as a "condiment" or "blender" (a basic tobacco mixed with other tobaccos to create a blend), especially in English, Balkan, and some American Classic blends.

Festivals



Latakia is home to a major annual festival, Al-Mahaba Festival. The festival is held between August 2–12 and includes cultural events, sports competitions and musical concerts. The festival is held in the Latakia Sports City
Latakia Sports City
Latakia Sports City , known also as Al-Assad Sports City, is a sports complex in Latakia, Syria. It was completed in 1987 to host the 1987 Mediterranean Games.The total area of the complex is 156 hectares...

 complex and is a landmark of the city. The Festival of Flowers is held at the same time and includes flower arrangements and exhibitions.
The Latakia in Memory Festival is aimed at reviving the ancient history of Latakia. Held annually on September 16 for three days, the festival includes carnivals, panoramic exhibitions on Ugarit and ancient Laodicea, an ancient Phoenician boats contest and exhibition and wind surfing contests.

Museums


The National Museum of Latakia was built in 1986 near the seafront of the city. It formerly housed the residence of the Governor of the Alawite State
Alawite State
The Alawite State , also known in French as Alaouites, after the locally dominant Alawite sect of Shi'a, was a French mandate territory in the coastal area of present-day Syria after World War I.-History:...

 and was originally a 16th-century Ottoman khan
Caravanserai
A caravanserai, or khan, also known as caravansary, caravansera, or caravansara in English was a roadside inn where travelers could rest and recover from the day's journey...

("caravansary") known as Khan al-Dukhan, meaning "The Khan of Smoke", as it served the tobacco trade. The khan historically served not only as an inn, but also contained private residences. The exhibits include inscribed tablets from Ugarit
Ugarit
Ugarit was an ancient port city in the eastern Mediterranean at the Ras Shamra headland near Latakia, Syria. It is located near Minet el-Beida in northern Syria. It is some seven miles north of Laodicea ad Mare and approximately fifty miles east of Cyprus...

, ancient jewellery, coins, figurines, ceramics, pottery, and early Arab and Crusader-era chain-mail suits and swords.

Sports



Latakia is the home city of two football clubs: Teshrin Sports Club
Teshrin
Tishreen Sporting Club is a Syrian football club based in Latakia. The club was founded in 1947.The word Teshrin in Arabic means October or November...

 was founded in 1947, and Hutteen Sports Club
Hutteen (Latakia)
Hutteen Sporting Club is a Syrian football club based in Latakia, Syria. The club was founded in 1945.-Performance in AFC competitions:* Asian Cup Winners Cup: 1 appearance-Current squad:...

 was founded in 1945. Both teams are based in the al-Assad Stadium, which carries a capacity of 35,000 people. Just north of the city is the Latakia Sports City
Latakia Sports City
Latakia Sports City , known also as Al-Assad Sports City, is a sports complex in Latakia, Syria. It was completed in 1987 to host the 1987 Mediterranean Games.The total area of the complex is 156 hectares...

 complex, which was built in 1987 to host the 1987 Mediterranean Games
1987 Mediterranean Games
The 10th edition of the Mediterranean Games was held in Latakia, Syria from the 11th to the 25th of September 1987. Eighteen nations competed in 19 different sporting events.-Medal table:-External link and reference:* -See also:...

 and presently holds key sporting events in Latakia. The complex includes an Olympic
Olympic Stadium
The Olympic Stadium is the name usually given to the big centrepiece stadium of the Summer Olympic Games. Traditionally, the opening and closing ceremonies and the track and field competitions are held in the Olympic Stadium. Many, though not all, of these venues actually contain the words Olympic...

-size stadium
Al-Basil Stadium
Latakia Sports City Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Latakia, Syria. It is currently used mostly for football matches. With a capacity of 45,000 spectators, the stadium is the second largest sports venue in Syria. It was opened in 1987 as a part of the Latakia Sports City and became the main...

 with some 45,000 seats, a diving pool, a covered swimming pool, and an Olympic-size swimming pool, as well as a tennis club with eleven courts and a yacht club.

Education



At the elementary level (ages 6–15), Latakia has 167,812 students enrolled in 615 schools with a capacity of 5,824 classes and staffed by 10,446 teachers. At the high-school level, Latakia has 16,968 students (54% of which are females) enrolled in 613 classes and staffed by 4,992 teachers.

The University of Latakia was founded in 1971 and renamed Tishreen University
Tishreen University
Tishreen University , is a public university located in Latakia, Syria. It is the third largest university in Syria. Established on May 20, 1971.-Name:The university was founded under the name of the University of Latakia on May 20, 1971...

 ("University of October") in 1976 to commemorate the victory Syria claimed in the October War of 1973
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

. The university has an enrollment of 25,660 students, 57% of which are females. The city houses a branch of the Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport
Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport
The Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport is an organization specialized in Science and Technology and Maritime Transport....

.

A school in Latakia
Latakia
Latakia, or Latakiyah , is the principal port city of Syria, as well as the capital of the Latakia Governorate. In addition to serving as a port, the city is a manufacturing center for surrounding agricultural towns and villages...

, Syria is named after Jules Jammal
Jules Jammal
Jules Yusuf Jammal was a Syrian Arab Christian military officer who martyred himself in a suicide bomb attack during the 1956 Suez Crisis against western forces.-Military Career and Death:...

, an Arab Christian military officer who blew himself up in a suicide attack on a French ship.

Landmarks


The modern city still exhibits faint traces of its former importance, notwithstanding the frequent earthquakes with which it has been visited. The marina is built upon foundations of ancient columns, and there are in the town an old gateway and other antiquities, as also sarcophagi and sepulchral caves in the neighbourhood. This gateway is a remarkable triumphal arch at the southeast corner of the town, almost entire: it is built with four entrances, like the Forum Jani at Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. It is conjectured that this arch was built in honour of Lucius Verus
Lucius Verus
Lucius Verus , was Roman co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius, from 161 until his death.-Early life and career:Lucius Verus was the first born son to Avidia Plautia and Lucius Aelius Verus Caesar, the first adopted son and heir of Roman Emperor Hadrian . He was born and raised in Rome...

, or of Septimius Severus. Fragments of Greek and Latin inscriptions are dispersed all over the ruins, but entirely defaced.

Notable points of interest in the nearby area include the massive Saladin's Castle and the ruins of Ugarit
Ugarit
Ugarit was an ancient port city in the eastern Mediterranean at the Ras Shamra headland near Latakia, Syria. It is located near Minet el-Beida in northern Syria. It is some seven miles north of Laodicea ad Mare and approximately fifty miles east of Cyprus...

, where some of the earliest alphabet
Alphabet
An alphabet is a standard set of letters—basic written symbols or graphemes—each of which represents a phoneme in a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it was in the past. There are other systems, such as logographies, in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic...

ic writings have been found. There are also several popular beaches. There are numerous mosques in Latakia, including the 13th-century Great Mosque and the 18th-century Jadid Mosque constructed by Suleiman Pasha Azem.

Latakia is a home city of consulate generals of Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and honorary consulates of Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

.

Healthcare


Latakia has 16 hospitals offering 1,278 beds—an average of one bed for every 663 people. It also has 94 health centers with an average of 9,011 persons for each center. The number of medical doctors is 1,696, with 499 person per doctor. In addition, there are 888 dentists and 448 pharmacists.

The main and largest hospital in Latakia is the National Hospital of Latakia on Baghdad Street. Al-Assad University Hospital on 8 Azar Street provides the main educational supplement to Tishreen University's medical students. The more modern Tishreen University Hospital was built as part of the Tishreen University complex and is in the final stages of furnishing.

Transportation


Roads link Latakia to Aleppo, Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

, Homs
Homs
Homs , previously known as Emesa , is a city in western Syria and the capital of the Homs Governorate. It is above sea level and is located north of Damascus...

, and Tripoli
Tripoli, Lebanon
Tripoli is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in Lebanon. Situated 85 km north of the capital Beirut, Tripoli is the capital of the North Governorate and the Tripoli District. Geographically located on the east of the Mediterranean, the city's history dates back...

. The main commercial coastal road of the city is Jamal Abdel Nasser Street, named after former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

. Lined with hotels, restaurants and the city museum, the street begins in central Latakia along the Mediterranean coast and ends at Hitteen Square. From the square, it branches southwest into al-Maghreb al-Arabi Street, south into 8 Azar Street, which continues south to form Baghdad Avenue—the main north-south road—branching into Beirut Street and Nadim Hassan Street along the southern coastline. From the southern portion of Jamal Abdel Nasser Street branch off al-Yarmouk Street and al-Quds Street, the latter which ends at al-Yaman Square in western Latakia, it continues west into Abdel Qader al-Husseini Street. North from al-Yaman Square Souria Avenue and south of the square is al-Ourouba Street. Souria Avenue ends in al-Jumhouriah Square, then continues north as al-Jumhouriah Street.

Much of the city is accessible by taxi and other forms of public transportation. Buses transport people to various Syrian, Lebanese, and Turkish cities, including Aleppo, Damascus, Deir ez-Zor, Palmyra
Palmyra
Palmyra was an ancient city in Syria. In the age of antiquity, it was an important city of central Syria, located in an oasis 215 km northeast of Damascus and 180 km southwest of the Euphrates at Deir ez-Zor. It had long been a vital caravan city for travellers crossing the Syrian desert...

, Tripoli, Beirut, Safita
Safita
Safita is a city in northwestern Syria, located to the southeast of Tartous and to the northwest of Krak des Chevaliers. The city has a population of 33,000. It's situated atop three hills and the valleys between them, in the Syrian Coastal Mountain Range...

, Hims, Hama
Hama
Hama is a city on the banks of the Orontes River in west-central Syria north of Damascus. It is the provincial capital of the Hama Governorate. Hama is the fourth-largest city in Syria—behind Aleppo, Damascus, and Homs—with a population of 696,863...

, Antakya
Antakya
Antakya is the seat of the Hatay Province in southern Turkey, near the border with Syria. The mayor is Lütfü Savaş.Known as Antioch in ancient times, the city has historical significance for Christianity, as it was the place where the followers of Jesus Christ were called Christians for the first...

, and Tartous
Tartous
Tartus is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Syria. Tartus is the second largest port city in Syria , and the largest city in Tartus Governorate. The population size is 98,000 .- Geography and climate :...

. The "luxury" Garagat Pullman Bus Station is located on Abdel Qader al-Husseini Street, and at least a dozen private companies are based at the station. On the same street is the older Hob-Hob Bus Station that operates a "depart when full" basis to Damascus and Aleppo. Local microbuses run between al-Yaman Square and the city center, as well as between the station on al-Jalaa Street and the city center. There is also a microbus station with buses departing to Qalaat Salah ed-Din, Qardaha
Qardaha
Qardaha is a village in northwestern Syria, in the mountains overlooking the coastal town of Latakia.It is mainly an Alawite town and the traditional home of the Assad family, that has ruled Syria since 1970. During the reign of Hafez al-Assad 1970-2000 the government poured massive investments...

, Kassab, and Jableh.

Latakia's train station is located on al-Yaman Square. Chemins de Fer Syriens
Chemins de Fer Syriens
Chemins de Fer Syriens is the national railway operator for the state of Syria, headquartered in Aleppo.-History:The first railway in Syria opened when the country was part of the Ottoman Empire, with the gauge line from Damascus to the port city of Beirut in present day Lebanon opened in 1895...

 operated services, including two daily runs to Aleppo and one weekly run to Damascus via Tartous. In 2005, approximately 512,167 passengers departed from Latakia's train station.

The Bassel Al-Assad International Airport
Bassel Al-Assad International Airport
Bassel al-Assad International Airport is an airport serving Latakia, the principal port city of Syria. The airport is named for Bassel al-Assad , son of the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and brother of the current President Bashar al-Assad....

 is located 25 kilometres (15.5 mi) south of Latakia and serves as a national and regional airport with regular flights to Sharjah
Sharjah (city)
Sharjah is the third largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. It is located along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula.Sharjah is the seat of government of the emirate of Sharjah...

, Jeddah
Jeddah
Jeddah, Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda is a city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The...

, Riyadh
Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

 and Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

. The Port of Latakia
Port of Latakia
The Port of Latakia is the main seaport in Syria. Located on the Mediterranean Sea in the city of Latakia. The port is the main route in Syria for containers, though it also handles a good deal of metals, machinery, chemicals and food stuffs. In 2004, 5.1m tonnes were unloaded and 1m tonnes were...

 is also a link in six organized cruises between Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, Izmir
Izmir
Izmir is a large metropolis in the western extremity of Anatolia. The metropolitan area in the entire Izmir Province had a population of 3.35 million as of 2010, making the city third most populous in Turkey...

 and Beirut. In addition, there are irregular ferry services to Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. In 2005, approximately 27,939 passengers used the port.

Twin towns — Sister cities

Sousse
Sousse
Sousse is a city in Tunisia. Located 140 km south of the capital Tunis, the city has 173,047 inhabitants . Sousse is in the central-east of the country, on the Gulf of Hammamet, which is a part of the Mediterranean Sea. The name may be of Berber origin: similar names are found in Libya and in...

, Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 Mersin
Mersin
-Mersin today:Today, Mersin is a large city spreading out along the coast, with Turkey's second tallest skyscraper , huge hotels, an opera house, expensive real estate near the sea or up in the hills, and many other modern urban...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 Constanţa
Constanta
Constanța is the oldest extant city in Romania, founded around 600 BC. The city is located in the Dobruja region of Romania, on the Black Sea coast. It is the capital of Constanța County and the largest city in the region....

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 Rimini
Rimini
Rimini is a medium-sized city of 142,579 inhabitants in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, and capital city of the Province of Rimini. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, on the coast between the rivers Marecchia and Ausa...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 Aden
Aden
Aden is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red Sea , some 170 kilometres east of Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately 800,000. Aden's ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano which now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a...

, Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 Gilan Province
Gilan Province
Gilan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It lies along the Caspian Sea, just west of the province of Mazandaran, east of the province of Ardabil, north of the provinces of Zanjan and Qazvin....

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...


External links