Ancient Villages of Northern Syria [ Syria ]

cultural landscape

        2007-2010 | listed in 2011 | french

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RC Heritage has worked in close cooperation with the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) of the Syrian Arab Republic. Regular meetings were held in Damascus, Aleppo, Idleb and in the villages with all the concerned stakeholders. A presentation seminar was organized in Idleb with the collaboration of the DGAM and UNESCO.

Covering some 130 km2, the eight parks forming the nominated property constitute a Cultural Landscape presenting remnants of the human occupation of the area from the 1st to the 6th century AD. In this region, human activity has contributed to shape the physical environment creating a landscape that still preserves the characteristics it had in late antiquity and early Byzantine era. The extraordinary preservation of the ruins (both monumental and vernacular) and of the landscape – that was left abandoned for more than a thousand years – permits a unique perception of the lifestyle of the population of the region, and more generally of the characteristics of peasant life in Late Antiquity.

The outstanding universal value of the Ancient villages of northern Syria is further emphasized by the extraordinary integrity of the vestiges: tombs, houses, temples, churches and monasteries have often preserved their masonries till the roof cornices.

Similarly, the authenticity of the site has been entirely preserved by its isolated position as the limestone massif remained for centuries almost untouched by the major events that have occurred in the region: the rise of the Byzantine Empire, the Crusades, the Ottoman period, but also, more recently, the transformations brought about in the colonial and post-colonial periods.


France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement, French Ministry of Culture / French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Paris, France


June 2007 / January 2010
listed in July 2011


UNESCO World Heritage Centre / Ancient Villages

35th World Heritage Committee,, Paris, June 2011

France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement / villages antiques

France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement / 10 years

NB: Since June 2013, Syria’s six World Heritage sites are placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger