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Kafr Hannah Travel Guide, Syria

If you ask someone who’s never been to Syria what they know about this country they will tell you that it is the home of the Bedouins infamous for robbing caravans that crossed their path.

Indeed many films and documentaries present the life of this nomadic tribe but today the reality is a bit different from that of the past there are few who live a nomadic life and the majority have settled to live in one place.

The richness of the land does not consist in great crops but in oil reserves and even though oil is a precious asset they still live mostly as their ancestors surviving on very little. Modern technology and way of living has modified very little their life but the harshness of the climate conditions has pushed many in giving up their traditional way of life.

Sheep are the prime source of food and you can see a lot of families raising sheep. Families are big in number and most families have between five to 10 kids. If you get the chance to see how a family lives your trip will be worth while because you will not see only the buildings and the landmarks but you will understand the Syrian way of life, their symbols and why they hold different things and traditions so dear.

Music is an important part of the Syrian life and besides the religious songs you will hear a lot of singing in a house.

The typical houses in Hannah are made of mud and straw and they stood the test of time for you to see them. They are very practical and eco friendly. They do not need much insulation and they are warm in winter and cool in summer.

Hannah is probably the most provincial and traditional city in the country with a beautiful historic charm. The first sign of the past that you’ll notice are the big water wheels that are used to bring water to a higher level as the banks of the river are quite low. These wheels, 17 in number, have been used for more than a hundred years and even if some slight changes have been made they still look as they did hundreds of years ago they are huge 20 m in diameter and if you sit next to one you look very little. The system is also used to irrigate the land.

With such a great water supply the city soon became an important agricultural centre. You can find many fresh vegetables but also fish which is not very common in Syrian markets. Local dishes are a must as they are delicious just as the sweets are.

As for landmarks one of the most visited is an old castle that was built by the Arabs in a strategic location and was occupied by the crusader knights for a long time. It is said to be the finest and best preserved medieval castle. The walls are almost in perfect condition. What you can see today was built in the 11the century on top of the old dwelling. The knights strengthened the castle and it was unbreakable.

Its location on a hill overlooking the region was perfect as you could see all around the castle and it was difficult for anybody to approach without being seen. The 13 towers are positioned around the castle and it gave views of the entire region.

A place rich in history, a history that is quite tangible, with traditions that go back a long time, Syria is a truly mystic country.

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