Qanawat

100 km south east of Damascus is a site of considerable interest. Its first historical mention dates to the reign of Herod the Great around the first century BC when Nabatean Arab forces inflicted a humiliating defeat in the Jewish forces.

From Pompey’s time until the period of Trajan, it was listed as one of the cities of the Decapolis, a loose federation allowed by the Romans to retain some degree of civic autonomy. Incorporated into the province of Syria (1st century), it was titled Septima Canatha by Septimus Severus and transferred to the province of Arabia at end of the second century. Christianity flourished in the fourth and fifth centuries and it became the seat of the bishop. The town fell to the Arabs in 637, after Damascus’ capture, and then declined. It was virtually deserted by the mid 19th century.

Most of the ruins belong to the Christian period, especially the renovated parts of the buildings and the additions that have been made. We can see that the column decorations, that are surrounding the platform of the sun god Helios’ temple, are rich as in the Baalbek/Palmyra tradition.