Two ancient cities in Deir ez-Zor: Halabiye & Zalabiye
Halabiye and Zalabiye are two archaeological sites witnessing the history of Deir ez-Zor. Located on the left and right banks of the Euphrates River in Deir ez-Zor, they are known as “Fortified cities” by local people.
KEWSER EL- JASÊM
Deir ez-Zor- Halabiye and Zalabiye are two archaeological sites on the left and right banks of the Euphrates River in Deir ez-Zor.
Halabiye is located on the right bank of the Euphrates River in Deir ez-Zor while Zalabiye is located on the left bank of the river. NuJINHA spoke to Bidor El-Hejir, member of the Culture and Art Committee in the Euphrates Region, about the history of these two archaeological sites, known as “Fortified cities” by local people.
‘It was a trade center’
Speaking about the history of Halabiye, Bidor El-Hejir said that Halabiye used to be a trade center during the Palmyrene Empire for merchants travelling from Iran, India, Iraq, Mediterranean basin and the Levant. “Queen Zenobia built the city on the bank of the Euphrates River to protect the borders of her kingdom. It was fortified as a defensive structure to guard Palmyrean control on the Euphrates valley. There is a fortress in Halabiye having massive city walls and a citadel on top of a hill, the remains of two churches, a public bath complex and two streets. The site is divided in quarters by a colonnaded north-south street connecting the gates in the north and south walls and by a second street running east-west. The site is protected by massive walls. The walls on the north and south sides are largely intact, while only remnants of the east wall are still visible.”
“Zalabiye is located on the left bank of the Euphrates River,” Bidor El-Hejir said, “The fortress of Halabiye is located the opposite river bank. Zalabiye comprises of a plan similar to Halabiye. However, it is in a less preserved state. The site has suffered from earthquakes and erosion. Only the eastern wall with eight towers and a gate remains today.”
‘Many tourists used to visit the region to see these archaeological sites’
Another member of the committee, Hiyam Mahmoud told us that the city of Deir ez-Zor is popular for its archaeological sites. “The most popular archaeological sites in Deir ez-Zor are Halabiye and Zalabiye. Before the Syrian civil war, many tourists used to visit the region to see these archaeological sites. Today, tourists still come here to see them but not many,” Hiyam Mahmoud said.