Promoted by the Ministry of Tourism as a mountain resort, al-Qardaha (القرداحة) is more well known as the home village of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his late father, Hafez al-Assad. Following the death of Hafez al-Assad in June 2000, his body was laid to rest here in a mausoleum built to house his tomb, as well as that of his eldest son, Basil al-Assad. The security forces which maintain the site are very welcoming to foreign visitors, but will no doubt inquire as to your knowledge and opinions of the man enshrined there. The mausoleum itself is surprisingly beautiful and restrained for a modern Syrian construction. The vast interior is nearly empty aside from the two tombs, while the exterior is decorated by a band of Arabic calligraphy.
There is little else of particular interest in al-Qardaha (القرداحة), but it is a peculiar village, curiously overdeveloped for its size. A four-lane highway leads up to the village, and the wide streets make the place seem oddly deserted. The mosque dedicated to Hafez al-Assad’s mother is somewhat interesting, and includes a large painting depicting the woman as a saint.
Getting There: There are frequent microbuses to al-Qardaha (القرداحة) from the main microbus station in Lattakia (اللاذقية) which take about 30 minutes. There are also fairly frequent microbuses from Jableh (جبلة) which take slightly less time.
Coordinates: 35°27’34.94″N / 36°04’02.42″E
Transliteration Variants: al-Qardaheh, al-Qardahah
Rating: (3 / 10)