While often overlooked by visitors, the old city of Homs (حمص) is rich in historic residential architecture. Most of these houses were constructed during the Mamluk and Ottoman eras, with some remains dating back to earlier Islamic periods. Scattered remnants from the Roman and Byzantine periods, when the city was known as Emesa, can be found throughout the area as well. While most of these houses remain private residences, several have been opened up to the public in recent decades as places of business, museums and cultural centers.
The trend of converting old houses into cafes and restaurants had been catching on in Homs (حمص), with several establishments opening in the area of Um al-Zenar Church (كنيسة أم الزنار). The most impressive of these restaurants is the massive Beit al-Agha (بيت الآغا), which was originally two separate houses. Additionally, the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) has been responsible for the restoration of numerous historic residences in the old city, such as Qasr al-Zahrawi (قصر الزهراوي) and Dar Mafid al-Amin (دار مفيد الأمين).
If visiting the historic churches and mosques of the old city of Homs (حمص), be sure to allow time to explore and visit some of these historic residences as well. Unfortunately, many of these buildings suffered significant damage during 2012-2014 fighting in the city, and restoration efforts are likely to require several years.
Getting There: Homs (حمص) is Syria’s third largest city and its central location means that it has regular bus connections to all major cities in Syria. Most of the historic houses of Homs (حمص) are located in the old city, primarily in the districts south and east of al-Nuri al-Kabir Mosque (جامع النوري الكبير).
Coordinates: 34°43’45.00″N / 36°43’14.00″E
Transliteration Variants: None
Rating: (5 / 10)