Tartus in May 2015
|• Governor||Wahib Hasan Zein Eddin|
|Elevation||22 m (72 ft)|
|Demonym(s)||Arabic: طرطوسي, romanized: Ṭarṭūsi|
Tartus (Arabic : طرطوس / ALA-LC: Ṭarṭūs; known in the County of Tripoli as Tortosa and also transliterated Tartous) is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Syria. It is the second largest port city in Syria (after Latakia), and the largest city in Tartus Governorate. The population is 115,769 (2004 census). In the summer it is a vacation spot for many Syrians. Many vacation compounds and resorts are located in the region. The port holds a small Russian naval facility.
The city lies on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea bordered by the Syrian Coastal Mountain Range to the east. Arwad, the only inhabited island on the Syrian coast, is located a few kilometers off the shore of Tartus.
Tartus occupies most of the coastal plain, surrounded to the east by mountains composed mainly of limestone and, in certain places around the town of Souda, basalt.
Tartus has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa) with mild, wet winters, hot and dry summers, and short transition periods in April and October. The hills to the east of the city create a cooler climate with even higher rainfall. Tartus is known for its relatively mild weather and high precipitation compared to inland Syria. Humidity in the summer can reach 0%.
|Climate data for Tartus|
|Average high °C (°F)||15.8|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||12.0|
|Average low °C (°F)||8.4|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||177.5|
|Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||12.5||10.2||9.3||5.4||2.1||0.5||0.1||0.1||0.8||4.4||6.5||11.0||62.9|
|Source: Hong Kong Observatory|
The History of Tartus goes back to the 2nd millennium BC when it was founded as a Phoenician colony of Aradus.The colony was known as Antaradus (from Greek "Anti-Arados → Antarados", Anti-Aradus, meaning "The town facing Arwad"). Not much remains of the Phoenician Antaradus, the mainland settlement that was linked to the more important and larger settlements of Aradus, off the shore of Tartus, and the nearby site of Amrit.
The city was called Antaradus in Latin. Athanasius reports that, under Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, Cymatius, the Orthodox bishop of Antaradus and also of Aradus (whose names indicate that they were neighbouring towns facing each other) was driven out by the Arians. At the First Council of Constantinople in 381, Mocimus appears as bishop of Aradus. At the time of the Council of Ephesus (431), some sources speak of a Musaeus as bishop of Aradus and Antaradus, while others mention only Aradus or only Antaradus. Alexander was at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 as bishop of Antaradus, Paulus as bishop of Aradus, while, at a synod held at Antioch shortly before, Paulus took part as bishop of both Aradus and Antaradus. In 458, Atticus signed, as bishop of Aradus, the letter of the bishops of the province of Phoenicia Prima to Byzantine Emperor Leo I the Thracian protesting about the murder of Proterius of Alexandria. Theodorus or Theodosius, who died in 518, is mentioned as bishop of Antaradus in a letter from the bishops of the province regarding Severus of Antioch that was read at a synod held by Patriarch Mennas of Constantinople. The acts of the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 were signed by Asyncretius as bishop of Aradus. At the time of the Crusades, Antaradus, by then called Tartus or Tortosa, was a Latin Church diocese, whose bishop also held the titles of Aradus and Maraclea (perhaps Rachlea). It was united to the see of Famagosta in Cyprus in 1295.
No longer a residential bishopric, Antaradus is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.
The city was favored by Constantine for its devotion to the cult of the Virgin Mary. The first chapel to be dedicated to the Virgin is said[ by whom? ] to have been built here in the 3rd century.[ citation needed ]
Muslim armies conquered Tartus under the leadership of Ubada ibn as-Samit in 636. [ citation needed ]
The Crusaders called the city Antartus, and also Tortosa. It was captured in 1099 during the First Crusade, but it was later taken over by Muslims, before it was recaptured by Raymond of Saint-Gilles in February 1102 after two weeks of siege, then it was left in 1105 to his son Alfonso Jordan and was known as Tortosa. In 1123 the Crusaders built the semi-fortified Cathedral of Our Lady of Tortosa over a Byzantine church that was popular with pilgrims. The Cathedral itself was used as a mosque after the Muslim reconquest of the city, then as a barracks by the Ottomans. It was renovated under the French and is now the city museum, containing antiquities recovered from Amrit and many other sites in the region. Nur ad-Din Zangi retrieved Tartus from the Crusaders for a brief time before he lost it again.
In 1152, Tortosa was handed to the Knights Templar, who used it as a military headquarters. They engaged in some major building projects, constructing a castle with a large chapel and an elaborate keep, surrounded by thick double concentric walls.The Templars' mission was to protect the city and surrounding lands, some of which had been occupied by Christian settlers, from Muslim attack. The city of Tortosa was recaptured by Saladin in 1188, and the main Templar headquarters relocated to Cyprus. However, in Tortosa, some Templars were able to retreat into the keep, which they continued to use as a base for the next 100 years. They steadily added to its fortifications until it also fell, in 1291. Tortosa was the last outpost of the Templars on the Syrian mainland, after which they retreated to a garrison on the nearby island of Arwad, which they held for another decade.
On May 23, 2016, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for three suicide bombings at a bus station in Tartus, which had remained largely unaffected since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011. Purportedly targeting Alawite gatherings, the bombs killed 48 people. In Jableh, similarly insulated, another four bombers killed over a hundred people.
Tartus is an important trade center in Syria and has one of the two main ports of the country on the Mediterranean. The city port is experiencing major expansion as a lot of Iraqi imports come through the port of Tartus to aid reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
Tartus is a destination for tourists. The city has sandy beaches and several resorts. The city has seen some investments in the last few years.[ citation needed ] The largest being Antaradus and Porto waterfront development.
Tartus has a well-developed road network and highways. The Chemins de Fer Syriens operated railway network connects Tartus to major cities in Syria, although only the Latakia-Tartus passenger connection is in service.
Tartus hosts a Soviet-era naval supply and maintenance base, under a 1971 agreement with Syria, which is still staffed by Russian naval personnel. Tartus is the last Russian military base outside the former Soviet Union, and its only Mediterranean fueling spot, sparing Russia's warships the trip back to their Black Sea bases through straits in Turkey, a NATO member.
The historic centre of Tartus consists of more recent buildings built on and inside the walls of the Crusader-era Templar fortress, whose moat still separates this old town from the modern city on its northern and eastern sides. Outside the fortress few historic remains can be seen, with the exception of the former cathedral of Notre-Dame of Tartus (Our Lady of Tortosa), from the 12th century. The church is now the site of a museum.
Tartus and the surrounding area are rich in antiquities and archeological sites. Various important and well known sites are located within a 30-minute drive from Tartus. These attractions include:
The outlying town of Al Hamidiyah just south of Tartus is notable for having a Greek-speaking population of about 3,000 who are the descendants of Ottoman Greek Muslims from the island of Crete but usually confusingly referred to as Cretan Turks. Their ancestors moved there in the late 19th century as refugees from Crete after the Kingdom of Greece acquired the island from the Ottoman Empire following the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. [ failed verification ] Since the start of the Iraqi War, a few thousands Iraqi nationals now reside in Tartus.[ citation needed ]
The Mediterranean Sea was the central superhighway of transport, trade and cultural exchange between diverse peoples encompassing three continents: Western Asia, North Africa, and Southern Europe. The history of the cultures and people of the Mediterranean Basin is important for understanding the origin and development of the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Canaanite, Phoenician, Hebrew, Carthaginian, Greek, Persian, Thracian, Etruscan, Iberian, Roman, Byzantine, Bulgarian, Arab, Berber, Ottoman, Christian and Islamic cultures.
Tortosa is the capital of the comarca of Baix Ebre, in Catalonia, Spain.
Latakia is the principal port city of Syria, as well as the capital of the Latakia Governorate. Historically, it has also been known as Laodicea in Syria or Laodicea ad Mare. In addition to serving as a port, the city is a manufacturing center for surrounding agricultural towns and villages. According to the 2004 official census, the population of the city is 383,786, Its population greatly increased as a result of the ongoing Syrian Civil War due to the influx of refugees from rebel held areas. It is the 4th-largest city in Syria after Aleppo, Damascus and Homs, and it borders Tartus to the south, Hama to the east, and Idlib to the north while Cape Apostolos Andreas, the most north-eastern tip of Cyprus is about 68 miles (109 km) away.
The County of Tripoli (1109–1289) was the last of the Crusader states. It was founded in the Levant in the modern-day region of Tripoli, northern Lebanon and parts of western Syria which supported an indigenous population of Christians, Druze and Muslims. When the Christian Crusaders – mostly Frankish forces – captured the region in 1109, Bertrand of Toulouse became the first Count of Tripoli as a vassal of King Baldwin I of Jerusalem. From that time, the rule of the county was decided not strictly by inheritance but by factors such as military force, favour and negotiation. In 1289 the County of Tripoli fell to Sultan Qalawun of the Muslim Mamluks of Cairo. The county was absorbed into Mamluk Egypt.
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Safita is a city in the Tartous Governorate, northwestern Syria, located to the southeast of Tartous and to the northwest of Krak des Chevaliers. It is situated on the tops of three hills and the valleys between them, in the Syrian Coastal Mountain Range. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Safita had a population of 20,301 in the 2004 census.
Arwad, the classical Aradus;, is a town in Syria on an eponymous island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is the administrative center of the Arwad Subdistrict (nahiyah), of which it is the only locality. It is the only inhabited island in Syria. It is located 3 km (1.9 mi) from Tartus, Syria's second-largest port.
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Al-Kafrun is a Syrian village in the Tartous Governorate. It is situated in the an-Nusayriyah Mountains range at 550 metres (1,800 ft) above sea level, making it a summer resort for locals who want to escape the hot summer temperatures in the lowlands. It is about 40 miles (64 km) from the major city of Homs. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), al-Kafrun had a population of 485 in the 2004 census. Its inhabitants are predominantly Greek Orthodox Christians.
Tartus Governorate, also transliterated as Tartous Governorate, is one of the 14 governorates of Syria. It is situated in western Syria, bordering Latakia Governorate to the north, Homs and Hama Governorates to the east, Lebanon to the south, and the Mediterranean Sea to the west. It is one of the few governorates in Syria that has an Alawite majority. Sources list the area as 1,890 km² or 1,892 km², with its capital being Tartus.
The Fall of Tripoli was the capture and destruction of the Crusader state, the County of Tripoli, by the Muslim Mamluks. The battle occurred in 1289 and was an important event in the Crusades, as it marked the capture of one of the few remaining major possessions of the Crusaders. The event is represented in a rare surviving illustration from a now fragmentary manuscript known as the 'Cocharelli Codex', thought to have been created in Genoa in the 1330s. The image shows the countess dowager Sibylla of Armenia and Barthélémy Mansel, Bishop of Tortosa sitting in state in the centre of the fortified city, and Qalawun's assault in 1289, with his army depicted massacring the inhabitants fleeing to boats in the harbour and to the nearby island of St Thomas.
The Syrian Navy, officially the Syrian Arab Navy, is the navy of the Syrian Armed Forces. It is under the Syrian Army's Latakia regional command with its fleet based in the ports of Baniyas, Latakia, Minat al Bayda, and Tartus. It is the smallest of the Syrian Armed Forces.
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Cathedral of Our Lady of Tortosa was a Catholic cathedral in the city of Tartus, Syria, erected during the 12th century. It has been described by historians as "the best-preserved religious structure of the crusades".
The Fall of Ruad in 1302 was one of the culminating events of the Crusades in the Eastern Mediterranean. When the garrison on the tiny Isle of Ruad fell, it marked the loss of the last Crusader outpost on the coast of the Levant. In 1291, the Crusaders had lost their main power base at the coastal city of Acre, and the Muslim Mamluks had been systematically destroying any remaining Crusader ports and fortresses since then, forcing the Crusaders to relocate their dwindling Kingdom of Jerusalem to the island of Cyprus. In 1299–1300, the Cypriots sought to retake the Syrian port city of Tortosa, by setting up a staging area on Ruad, two miles (3 km) off the coast of Tortosa. The plans were to coordinate an offensive between the forces of the Crusaders, and those of the Ilkhanate. However, though the Crusaders successfully established a bridgehead on the island, the Mongols did not arrive, and the Crusaders were forced to withdraw the bulk of their forces to Cyprus. The Knights Templar set up a permanent garrison on the island in 1300, but the Mamluks besieged and captured Ruad in 1302. With the loss of the island, the Crusaders lost their last foothold in the Holy Land. Attempts at other Crusades continued for centuries, but the Europeans were never again able to occupy any territory in the Holy Land until the 20th century, during the events of World War I.
Baniyas is a city in Tartous Governorate, northwestern Syria, located 55 km (34 mi) south of Latakia and 35 km (22 mi) north of Tartous.
Amrit, the classical Marathus, was a Phoenician port located near present-day Tartus in Syria. Founded in the third millennium BC, Marat was the northernmost important city of ancient Phoenicia and a rival of nearby Arwad. During the 2nd century BC, Amrit was defeated and its site largely abandoned, leaving its ruins well preserved and without extensive remodeling by later generations.
The Siege of Tortosa was a military action of the Second Crusade (1147–49) in Spain. A multinational force under the command of Count Raymond Berengar IV of Barcelona besieged the city of Tortosa, then a part of the Almoravid Emirate, for seven months before the garrison surrendered.
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