Syria / Cities and Towns /
City in Syria with 360,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), in the Hama province, on the Orontes River.
Hama is the centre of an agricultural area that produces cereals, grain, fruit and vegetables; also cotton, wool and silk. Industries include cotton textiles, tanning and production of cement.
Hama is one of the most beautiful cities in Syria, and famous for its water wheels, nouria (see large image). The nourias no longer serve their original purpose of providing water for drinking and irrigation. But they are well kept by the local authorities, and a great tourist attraction. The nourias measure between 10 and 22 metre in diametre, are built from wood, and have origins going back to the 14th century
Prehistoric times: Hama is already an important settlement.
5th millennium: The oldest excavated artifacts proving settlement in the Hama area date to this period.
Around 1550 BCE: Becomes part of the state of Mitanni.
11th century: Hama becomes the capital and centre of the Hamath kingdom of the Arameans.
Ca. 715: Hamath is conquered by the Assyrians.
Ca. 540: Hamath becomes part of the Persian Empire.
4th century: Comes under Macedonian control following the swift conquests of Alexander the Great.
2nd century: Becomes part of the Hellenistic Seleucid kingdom. The city is renamed Epiphaneia.
63: Comes under the control of Rome.
4th century CE: During Byzantine (East Roman) rule, the city is given the name Emath, approximating the ancient one.
636 or 637: Falls to the Arab Muslims, and is controlled by the Umayyad caliphate in Damascus. Up until this time, Emath (now Hama) had been a predominantly Christian city. At this point in time, Hama is nothing but a weak and unimportant city.
1108: Christian Crusaders take control over Hama.
1115: The city is retaken by the Muslims.
1175: Hama is destroyed by an earthquake.
1188: Captured by Saladin.
Around 1300: Conquered by the Mamluks of Egypt. Hama becomes governed by its own sultan, under the suzerainty of the Mamluk sovereign governing Syria.
1516: Control over Hama comes into the hands of the Ottoman sultans of Istanbul.
1941: Hama, as part of Syria, gains independence.
1982 February: The Syrian authorities send the army into Hama to suppress the strong Muslim Brotherhood in the city. Estimates on executed Islamists from these actions run between 5,000 and 25,000. About 1 in 4 houses in the old city were destroyed.