Apamea & The Castle of Salah El Din

The Castle of Salah El Din is recognized as a masterpiece of military architecture, was considered impregnable and was defended by the Knights Hospitaller.

A powerful citadel controlling one of the passages between the Orontes valley and the sea and at the same time an advance defense port for the city of Antioch.

Dedicated to Saladin, it played its part in Syria's history under three different and competing authorities, Byzantine, Frankish and Arab.

It is situated at the top of a very difficult route up the mountains. Its strategic position goes back in history to the Phoenicians who controlled this site in the 1st Millennium BC, and were still holding it when Alexander the Great arrived in 333 BC.

Not much is known about what happened to it between this period and the return of the Byzantines in the 10th century AD. The Byzantines under Emperor John Zimisces occupied it from the Aleppan Hamdanid dynasty, and built the first of its defensive structures. It then fell in the hands of the Crusaders at around the beginning of the 12th century. In 1188 Saladin succeeded in occupying it and it stayed in Muslim hands ever since.

Apamea overlooks the Ghaab plain and is located on the right bank of the Orontes River about 55 km northwest of Hama town. It was built by Seleucus Nicator, the first king of the Seleucids in Syria in 300 B.C who named it after his wife Afamia.

The city flourished attracting distinguished visitors such as Cleopatra, Septimus Severus and Emperor Caracalla. Its population numbered half a million. In the Christian era Apamea became a centre of philosophy and thought. Most of the uncovered ruins date back to the Roman and Byzantine ages.

Distinguished for its high walls and main thoroughfare surrounded by columns with twisted fluting the street is about 2km long and 87m wide. The ruins of the Roman theatre are now a great mass of stone, its colonnade 145 m long.

Erected in the 2nd century, it was destroyed in the 12th century by two violent earthquakes but some columns are still standing.


Special Notes:
Comfort stops available at all sites.

Tour not recommended for wheelchair-confined persons or with restricted walking conditions.

A considerable amount of walking is involved on uneven cobblestones and ruined passages at all sites.

A lot of stairs and uphill walk on cobblestones and rough ground to reach the citadel.

Participants change into small buses at the base of the mountain to reach the citadel due to the narrowness and winding road.

No suitable establishments for lunch ashore during this tour; a lunchbox prepared by the ship is essential.

Comfortable clothing, walking shoes, hat, umbrella and sunglasses recommended.


Tour Timings:

Tours begin at times suitable for the ship's arrival in port. The breakdown of the excursions is as follows:
00hr00 -> Depart from Latakia Port

00hr00 -> 01hr00 Drive to Salah El Din’s castle
01hr00 -> 02hr30 Visit Castle
02hr30 -> 06hr00 Drive to Apamea with comfort stop en route
06hr00 -> 07hr30 Visit Apamea

07hr30 -> 10hr00 Drive to Latakia



Tour Details

Tour Name:
Apamea & The Castle of Salah El Din

Sightseeing Shore Tours
Cultural Shore Tours

Tour ID:

Approximately 10hr00

medium excursionsnakc provided on tour

Home Port

Adabeya HotelsIs Latakia you're embarkation-debarkation port?

We can arrange hotels, transfers & tours so passengers can extend their stay ashore to explore the full beauty of Syria...more

< Aleppo   Latakia & The Castle of Salah El Din >