Jisr al-Shaghur (جسر الشغور) is a fairly large town on the main route between Lattakia (اللاذقية) and Aleppo (حلب). While it has had a long history, as many other Syrian towns, there is little to see here today. Nonetheless, as a regional center and transit hub, you’ll most likely stop here if you intend to visit either Bakas/Qalaat al-Shaghur (قلعة الشغور) or the nearby Qalaat Mirza (قلعة ميرزا). If passing through, there are a few sites around the center of town to justify a bit of exploration.
The most notable historic site in Jisr al-Shaghur (جسر الشغور) is the bridge, spanning the Orontes River, which the town is named after. Still in use today, the foundations of this bridge date back to the Roman period. The design forms a broad arrow facing south to withstand the force of the current. The angle and the fact that the bridge was almost horizontal distinguish it from the majority of Roman and Arab bridges. As it has been in continuous use, numerous modifications have been made over the centuries, and the result is somewhat chaotic. However, the bridge’s ancient origins are still noticeable. The bridge is located just east of the main microbus station.
Elsewhere in Jisr al-Shaghur (جسر الشغور), sites include an early Arab hammam (public bath), though it is in a poor state of preservation and is generally locked up, and a caravanserai originally constructed between 1660 and 1676, restored in 1826-1827. Jisr al-Shaghur (جسر الشغور) has a small old town, with some attractive residential architecture and a couple nice mosques, that is also worth wandering through. All of these sites are to the north of the main microbus station, north and west of the main market (souq).
Getting There: Microbuses travel between Lattakia (اللاذقية) and Jisr al-Shaghur (جسر الشغور) fairly regularly. The trip takes about one hour. In Lattakia (اللاذقية) the microbuses depart from a small microbus station located between the train station and the main long distance bus station just southeast of al-Yaman Square (ساحة اليمن). There are also direct microbuses between Jisr al-Shaghur (جسر الشغور) and Aleppo (حلب), and it is possible to travel from Jisr al-Shaghur (جسر الشغور) to Hama (حماة) via al-Suqeilbiyeh (الصفيلبية).
Microbuses from Jisr al-Shaghur (جسر الشغور) to Bakas/Qalaat al-Shaghur (قلعة الشغور) and Qalaat Mirza (قلعة ميرزا) depart from side streets near the main microbus station. For Bakas/Qalaat al-Shaghur (قلعة الشغور), look for a microbus heading to al-Shaghur (الشغور) or al-Shaghur al-Qadimeh (الشغور القديمة) leaving from the street two blocks west of the main microbus station. The trip takes about 15 minutes. For Qalaat Mirza (قلعة ميرزا), look for any microbus traveling to the village of Jourein (جورين), which depart two blocks west and two blocks north of the main microbus station. The microbus to Jourein (جورين) will pass within a short distance of the castle.
Coordinates: 35°48’38.18″N / 36°19’26.57″E
Transliteration Variants: Jisr al-Shaghour, Jisr al-Shughur, Jisr al-Shughour, Jisr al-Shagur, Jisr al-Shagour, Jisr al-Shugur, Jisr al-Shugour
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