Qanawat


Qanawat

Qanawat ( _ar. قنوات), the ancient Roman city of Canatha (also Kanatha), is a village in Syria, located 7 km north-east of As Suwayda. It stands at a height of about 1,200 m, near a river and surrounded by woods.

History

The town is mentioned for the first time in the reign of Herod the Great (1st century BC), when Arab force of the Nabataeans defeated here the Jewish forces. The two powers contended it until itCanatha then became a city of the Decapolis, a federation of cities enjoying some relic of autonomy within the in Roman Palestine. In the 1st century AD it was annexed to roman province of Syria; later, rechristened as "Septimia Canatha", it was part of the province of Arabia. A center of Christianism propagation in the area, Canatha was captured by the Muslim Arabs in 637, declining in importance until, in the 9th century, it had reduced to a poor village.

Main sights

The city's extensive ancient ruins are 1500 m in length and 750 m in breadth. Among them are a Roman bridge and a rock-hewn theatre, with nine tiers of seats and an orchestra nineteen meters in diameter, also a nymphaeum, an aqueduct, a large prostyle temple with portico and colonnades, and a peripteral temple of the Sun ("Helios") preceded by a double colonnade.

The monument known as Es-Serai (also "Seraya", "palace") dates from around the 2nd century AD and was originally a temple, and then, from the 4th/5th centuries, a Christian basilica. It is 22 m long, and was preceded by an outside portico and an atrium with eighteen columns.


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