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Bosra, Syria

Bosra is an extremely ancient city mentioned in lists of Tutmose III and Akhenatcn in the fourteenth century BC. The first Nabataean city in the 2nd century BC, it bore the name Buhora, and then Bustra during Hellenistic period. Later the Romans took an active interest in the city, and at time of Emperor Trajan it was made the capital of the Province of Arabia (in 106 BC) and was called Neatrajana Bustra.

The city flourished when became a crossroads on the caravan routes and the official seat and residence of the Imperial Legate. After the decline of the Roman Empire, Bosra played a significant role in the history of early Christianity. It was also linked to the rise of Islam, when a Nestorian monk called Bahira met the young Mohammad (pbuh) when his caravan stopped at Bosra, and predicted his prophetic vocation and the faith he was going to initiate.

The Magnificent Roman Ampitheater, Bosra

The oldest Islamic still-standing square minarets are in Bosra, whose prosperous role as an important halt for pilgrims on the way to Mecca lasted until the 17th century.

The most interesting part of the city today is the famous Roman theater built in the second century AD, which seats 15 thousand spectators, and is considered one of the most beautiful and well-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world.

The city itself contains a great number of Roman ruins, a part of the Byzantine Bahira Church, as well as Al-Mabrak Mosque, which is said to have been erected on site where the Prophet's camel stopped to rest. There is also Omar Mosque (also called Al-Arouss Mosque), which is the only one of its type remaining from the early days of Islam, and it retains its 7th century primitive form. An important Muslim citadel, dating back to Ayoubite and Mamluk period still stands, and one of its towers now houses a museum of Antiquities and Traditional Arts.

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