Research Notes – Google Randomness

The first results of a Google search on Syria, 1673 produce a city named Albaida (elev. 1673 ft.). According to the map below it would be approx. 20 miles from Tartus.

Albaida (Arabic: البيضة) is a small village in Syria. It is located 95 km Southeast of the port city of Latakia, 2 km south of Masyaf (Arabic: مصياف), and 210 km north of Damascus. It is part of the Hama Governorate (Muhafazat Hama).

The village is notable for numerous water springs such as Ayen Tallah which provided the village with pure water for many years.

Note: I had originally mistaken Tartus as another name for Tarsus (birthplace of Paul) but these two are not connected. I did find that “In 1123 the Crusaders built the church of Our Lady of Tortosa upon this site. It now houses this altar and has received many pilgrims. The Cathedral itself was used as a mosque after the Muslim reconquest of the city, then as a barracks by the Ottomans. It was renovated under the French and is now the city museum, containing antiquities recovered from Amrit and many other sites in the region. Nur ad-Din retrieved Tartus from the Crusaders for a brief time before it was lost again. In 1152, Tortosa was handed to the Knights Templar, who used it as a military headquarters. They engaged in some major building projects, constructing a castle with a large chapel and an elaborate keep, surrounded by thick double concentric walls.[6] The Templars’ mission was to protect the city and surrounding lands, some of which had been occupied by Christian settlers, from Muslim attack. The city of Tortosa was recaptured by Saladin in 1188, and the main Templar headquarters relocated to Cyprus. However, in Tortosa, some Templars were able to retreat into the keep, which they continued to use as a base for the next 100 years. They steadily added to its fortifications until it also fell, in 1291. Tortosa was the last outpost of the Templars on the Syrian mainland, after which they retreated to a garrison on the nearby island of Arwad, which they kept for another decade.”

Albaida’s population is about 800 during winter, growing to about 5,000 during the summer; summer visitors spend most of their times at waterfall areas, cafeterias, and cafes. The year-round population is 99% Christian (Greek Orthodox) and 1% Muslim; most work in agriculture, in tourism, or for the government.

For comparison – Religions of Syria: Sunni Muslims (74%), Alawis (12%), Christians (10%), Druze (3%), and small numbers of other Muslim sects, Jews, and Yazidis. Population (2005 est.)*: 18.6 million.

Published in: on August 21, 2008 at 2:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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