Haran al-Awamid (حران العواميد), located in the fertile Ghouta (غوطة) oasis to the east of Damascus (دمشق), is a mostly mud-brick village which contains a couple items of historic interest. Most notable of these remains are the three large Roman/Nabatean columns from which the village gets it’s name (which translates to “village of the columns”). The tall, black basalt columns are stranded in the courtyard of a village home. If you don’t feel like disturbing the residents, you can get a clear view of the columns from outside. If you ask nicely, however, you’ll probably be welcomed into the courtyard.
In addition to the columns, the mosque to the west is apparently based on a Roman basilica plan and has incorporated many of the Roman remains. Little of this is readily apparent, however, as they’ve plastered over the Roman columns and other masonry. One exception are a few Roman carvings incorporated into the entrance gate.
It is speculated that this was a center for worship of the gods who assured the fertility of the Ghouta (غوطة) oasis. The remains are similar structurally and artistically to those of the Houran (حوران), and make use of the same black basalt material. The capitals of the columns are of the Ionic order, similar to the style found in the colonnades of Shahba (شهبا) in the al-Suweida Region (ريف السويداء).
Although the modern village of Haran al-Awamid (حران العواميد) lacks much charm, the scenery getting there is beautiful, and you might be tempted to visit one of the numerous picnic spots, restaurants, and/or amusement parks along the way. The fertile Ghouta (غوطة) oasis makes for an impressive contrast to the landscape elsewhere around Damascus (دمشق), and tall groves of trees line the road most of the way.
Getting There: Microbuses traveling to Haran al-Awamid (حران العواميد) from Damascus (دمشق) depart from the microbus station located between Bab Mousala Square (ساحة باب مصلى) and Hassan al-Kharat Square (ساحة حسن الخراط). This is about 500 meters south of the old city. The trip takes about 45 minutes, and the columns are near the center of the village. As you arrive in the village, look for them on the left (east) side of the road.
Coordinates: 33°26’57.93″N / 36°33’36.08″E
Transliteration Variants: Haran al-Awameed
Rating: (3 / 10)