Known as “beehive houses”, these traditional homes are constructed from dirt, mud, straw and stone in a rounded conical shape. These attractive homes are a common sight in the arid countryside east of Hama (حماة). Built connected to each other around a central courtyard, they are designed to keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. While modern concrete structures are rapidly replacing these traditional dwellings as residences, many of these homes have been preserved and maintained for storage use.
Getting There: The most easily accessible and commonly visited of these traditional houses are in the village of Sarouj (ساروج), on the way to Qasr Ibn Wardan (قصر ابن وردان). Public transportation from Hama (حماة) travels as close as the town of al-Hamra (ال حمرا), from which private transportation must be arranged. It is recommended to combine a visit to Sarouj (ساروج) with Qasr Ibn Wardan (قصر ابن وردان) and al-Andarin (الاندرين).
Perhaps the most impressive collection of these traditional houses, however, is in the more remote village of al-Sheikh Halal (الشيخ هلال). Infrequent buses traveling between Salamiyeh (سلمية) and al-Raqqa (الرقة) pass by al-Sheikh Halal (الشيخ هلال), a route that may also be used to visit the Roman temple of Athriya (اثريا).
Coordinates: 35°19’09.75″N / 37°12’11.44″E (Sarouj)
Coordinates: 35°14’54.72″N / 37°30’12.92″E (al-Sheikh Halal)
Transliteration Variants: Saruj, Saroj, Surouj, Suruj, Suroj
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