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al-Raqqa & Region


The ruined Byzantine city of Sergiopolis, known today as al-Rasafeh (الرصافة), is one of the most spectacular historic sites in eastern Syria and bound to impress just about anyone who visits. Few tourists reach this remote place, which makes the journey all that much more rewarding: you might very well have the entire site to yourself. The remains are massive in scale and stunning in detail, …

Qalaat Jaabar
قلعة جعبر

Qalaat Jaabar (قلعة جعبر) is an Ayyubid-era castle located on what was formally a hilltop position overlooking the Euphrates. Now, due to the dam built just downstream, the castle is on a small island on the northeast bank of Lake Assad, connected to the land by an artificial causeway. One of the most impressive castles in the east of Syria, it is well worth a …


The city of al-Raqqa (الرقة) is one of Syria’s smaller provincial capitals and is seldom visited by tourists, but nonetheless has a rich history and some interesting archaeological sites. Most impressive of these is the Abbasid-era mosque, although only the minaret and some arches survive. Nearby are the remains of a small Abbasid-era palace. The old city was once fully enclosed by fortification walls, some of …


Harqaleh (هرقلة) is a little known site from the Abbasid period located about seven kilometers west of al-Raqqa (الرقة). Built by Harun al-Rashid to commemorate his victory over Byzantine forces, there is debate as to whether the site served as a palace or as a monument. The site is roughly one hundred meters by one hundred meters square, with towers at each of the four corners. …