| Syria|| Tartus District|
Wahib Hasan Zein Eddin
Tartus (Arabic: ? / ALA-LC: Tartus; also transliterated Tartous) is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Syria. Tartus is the second largest port city in Syria (after Latakia), and the largest city in Tartus Governorate. The population is 115,769 (2004 census). In the summer it is a vacation spot for many Syrians. Many vacation compounds are located in the region with some top quality resorts. The port of Tartus is home to a small Russian naval facility.
The city lies on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea bordered by the Alawite Mountains to the east. Arwad, the only inhabited island on the Syrian coast, is located a few kilometers off the shore of Tartus.
Tartus occupies most of a smooth ares, surrounded to the east by mountains composed mainly of limestone and, in certain places around the town of Souda, basalt.
Economy, transportation and navy
The History of Tartus goes back to the 2nd millennium BC when it was founded as a Phoenician colony of Aradus. The colony was known as Antaradus (from Greek "Anti-Arados ? Antarados", Anti-Aradus, meaning "The town facing Arwad"). Not much remains of the Phoenician Antaradus, the mainland settlement that was linked to the more important and larger settlements of Aradus, off the shore of Tartus, and the nearby site of Amrit.
The historic centre of Tartus consists of more recent buildings built on and inside the walls of the Crusader-era Templar fortress, whose moat still separates this old town from the modern city on its northern and eastern sides. Outside the fortress few historic remains can be seen, with the exception of the former cathedral of Notre-Dame of Tartus (Our Lady of Tortosa), from the 12th century. The church is now the site of a museum. Former President Hafez Assad and his predominantly Islamic administration had promised to return the site to the Christians as a symbol of deep Christianity in Syria, however he died before this promise was executed. Assads son, President Bashar Assad, has claimed to honor his fathers promise.
Tartus and the surrounding area are rich in antiquities and archeological sites. Various important and well known sites are located within a 30-minute drive from Tartus. These attractions include:The old city of Tartus.
Marqab Castle, north of the city.
The historic Town of Safita.
Arwad island and castle.
The ancient cathedral of Our Lady of Tortosa, now used as the city museum.
Beit el-Baik Palace.
Hosn Suleiman Temple.
Mashta Al Helou resort.