the fall of
Ugarit, the area was part of that kingdom. This
was an important ancient
urban center and its language has had a marked effect on our knowledge of
early religion and literature and
the division of
it fell under the influence of the
and became a major city and port.
renamed the city to
in honor of his mother, and today's name is a corruption of that
had an important early
community, a fact attested by being mentioned in
letter to the
After the fall of
possession of the city seesawed between
ancient remains have survived in Lattakia, but there are four columns and a
from the time of
(circa 200 AD), in addition to a beautiful
which is now a museum.
Latakia is Syria's main sea-port on the Mediterranean (186 km southwest
of Aleppo). It has retained its importance since ancient times. Latakia was
one of the five cities built by Saluqos Nikator in the 2nd century B.C. He
named it after his mother, Laudetia.
Not many ancient remains have survived in Latakia, but there are four
columns and a Roman arch from the time of Septimus Severus (circa 200 A.D.),
in addition to a beautiful Ottoman construction called "Khan al-Dukhan",
which is now a museum.
Latakia is the sea-gate to Syria. It is well-provided with
accommodation, and is well-placed as a base from which to explore the
coastal regions of the country.
There are beaches, mountains, archaeological sites and many relics of
the Crusaders, all within a few hours from each other.
Mention should also be made of the historically important Ras Shamra,
only 16km to the north of Latakia. This is the site of Ugarit, the kingdom
that had a golden past in administration, education, diplomacy, law,
religion and economics between the 16th and 13th centuries B.C. It is the
kingdom that gave humanity the first alphabet in the world. This alphabet is
still preserved on a clay tablet at the National Museum in Damascus.
Documents, statues and jewels from the Ugarit kingdom are also on
display at the Latakia, Aleppo and Tartus museums.
Jableh is another Syrian seaside town, 28 km to the south of Latakia.
It has a theatre built to accommodate 7,000 to 8,000 spectators. Close
to Jableh is Tel Sokas, where archaeological relies were recently found, now
on exhibition at the Damascus and Tartus museums.