51 Facts About Homs


Homs did not emerge into the historical record until the 1st century BCE at the time of the Seleucids.

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Homs was conquered by the Muslims in the 7th century and made capital of a district that bore its current name.

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Homs began to decline under the Ottomans and only in the 19th century did the city regain its economic importance when its cotton industry boomed.

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Approximately 2, 000 years, Homs has served as a key agricultural market, production site and trade center for the villages of northern Syria.

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Excavations at the Citadel of Homs indicate that the earliest settlement at the site dates back to around 2300 BCE.

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Homs brought the image of this god, a conical black stone, to the Elagabalium in Rome.

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Homs was executed by Emperor Julian and succeeded by Bishop Antonius—the first bishop to settle Emesa.

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Homs was likely the first city in Syria to have a substantial Muslim population.

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Muslims transformed half of St John's Church into the city's Friday Mosque and Homs soon became a centre of Islamic piety since some 500 companions of Muhammad settled there after its conquest.

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In 891 Muslim geographer al-Yaqubi noted that Homs was situated along a broad river which served as a source of drinking water for the inhabitants.

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Arab geographer al-Mas'udi claimed in the early 10th century that Homs was "noted for the personal beauty of its inhabitants.

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Immune from attack, Homs became a point where the Muslims could marshal their forces and launch raids against Crusader holdings along the Mediterranean coast.

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Muslim geographer al-Idrisi noted in 1154 that Homs was populous, had paved streets, possessed one of the largest mosques in Syria, contained open markets, and was frequented by travellers attracted to its "products and rarities of all kinds.

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Homs later departed for Aleppo, and left a small army in Homs' lower town.

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In 1225, Arab geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi mentioned that Homs was large, celebrated and walled, having a strongly fortified castle on its southern hill.

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Towards the end of Ayyubid rule, Homs remained a centrepiece of the wars between them and the Crusaders, as well as internecine conflicts with the Mongol Empire and the Mamluks.

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Homs declined politically after falling to the Mamluks under Baibars because their campaigns effectively drove out the Crusaders and the Mongols from the entirety of Syria.

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Later in the 15th century as Mamluk weakness had brought insecurity to the countryside, Homs was ravaged by Bedouin raids; In 1510 a powerful tribe led by al-Fadl bin Nu'ayr was sent on an expedition by the governor of Damascus to loot the city markets as Homs had failed to pay compensation for his "services.

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In 1516, Homs was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire and consequently suffered a greater political eclipse, but it continued to thrive as an economic center, processing the agricultural and pastoral products that flowed to it from surrounding districts.

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Homs was particularly well known for silk and wool weaving, especially the alaja, which was mottled muslin run through with gold threads and used in feminine apparel.

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Homs described it as a large, but ruined village administratively dependent on Damascus.

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Countryside of Homs saw an increase in Bedouin raids in the first half of the 19th century, interrupted by its occupation by Muhammad Ali's Egypt led by Ibrahim Pasha between 1832 and 1840.

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Ottoman rule was restored and up to the 1860s, Homs was large enough to form a discrete economic unit of trade and processing of agricultural products from its satellite villages and the neighbouring Bedouin tribes.

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However, Homs found itself faced with European economic competition since Ottoman rule was restored.

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In 1932, the French moved their military academy from Damascus to Homs to be established in 1933, later known as Homs Military Academy, and it remained the only military academy in Syria until 1967.

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The military academy in Homs trained the indigenous officers for these Troupes Speciales du Levant.

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Homs was the first Syrian city where images of al-Assad and his family were routinely torn down or defaced and the first place where Syrian forces used artillery during the uprising.

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Homs was one of the largest cities in Syria in the 12th century with a population of 7, 000.

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In 1785, the inhabitants of Homs numbered more than 2, 000 and the population was divided almost evenly between Eastern Orthodox Christians and Muslims.

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Homs Governorate had an estimated 1, 767, 000 people in 2011.

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Today, Homs' population reflects Syria's general religious diversity, and is made up primarily of Sunni Muslims, with minorities of Alawites, Eastern Orthodox Christians and Assyrians.

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Crops grown in Homs include wheat, barley, lentils, sugar beets, cotton, and vines, as well as serving as a point of exchange between the sedentary zone and the desert.

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Homs is home to several large public heavy industries, such as the oil refinery west of the city which opened in 1959.

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Homs is the hub of an important road and rail network, it is the central link between the interior cities and the Mediterranean coast.

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Homs has several hotels; Safir Hotel is considered one of Syria's best five-star hotels and the only one of that status in the city.

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Homs is home to a variety of kibbeh mishwiyyeh or "grilled kibbeh".

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Jazar Mahshi is native dish in Homs and is made of yellow carrot stuffed with minced lamb, rice.

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Homs has an array of restaurants, some of the most highly acclaimed are those within the Safir Hotel: Mamma Mia and Mersia.

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Homs recently emerged as the restaurant scene in pre-civil-war Syria after completing its Malab St Hamra development.

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The first museum built in the city, Homs Museum founded in 1922, is located along Shoukri al-Quwatly Street and contains a selection of artefacts from the Homs region, covering the time between the prehistoric and Islamic eras.

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Homs has several festivals, and the city annually co-hosts the Desert Folk Festival and the Al-Badiya Festival with Palmyra.

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Homs has produced a number of well-known sportsmen, including footballers Firas Al Khatib and Jehad Al Hussain.

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The city of Homs is governed by a city council and is home to the Executive Office.

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Oldest schools in Homs were founded by American missionaries, the "National Evangelical School" in 1855, and "Al Ghassania Orthodox School" in 1887.

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Homs is home to the Al-Baath University, one of four major universities in Syria was founded in 1979.

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Al-Andalus University for Medical Sciences was established in 2005 near Homs, and is constructing one of its University Hospitals in the city.

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Homs is considered a transportation hub in Syria, by virtue of its central location between the coastal cities and the interior.

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Homs has a large railway station, with two Chemins de Fer Syriens operated daily departures to Damascus and Aleppo.

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The Khalid ibn al-Walid Mosque has been considered "the only edifice of any real note" in Homs, and was built in the last few years of Ottoman rule in Syria during the 1900s.

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The other prominent church in Homs is the 5th-century Church of Saint Elian, built in honour of Christian martyr Saint Elian, whose tomb is located in the crypt.

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Citadel of Homs is situated on one of the largest urban tells of Syria.

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