Arwad Island, also known as Ruad Island, is a small, historic island located off the coast of Tartous in Syria. It is the only inhabited island in Syria and holds great historical and cultural significance. Here are some key details about Arwad Island:
Location: Arwad Island is situated in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, about 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) from the mainland city of Tartous. It covers an area of approximately 0.3 square kilometers (0.12 square miles).
History: Arwad Island has a long and rich history dating back to ancient times. It was first settled in the 2nd millennium BCE by the Phoenicians, who established it as a prominent maritime trading center. Over the centuries, the island came under the control of various civilizations, including the Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. It also served as a strategic stronghold during the Crusader period.
Cultural Significance: Arwad Island has been a hub of cultural and economic exchanges throughout history. It played a crucial role in the Phoenician trade network, connecting the Eastern Mediterranean with Mesopotamia and Egypt. Arwad Island was renowned for its shipbuilding industry, and its sailors were known for their navigational skills. The island’s historical significance has earned it a place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site tentative list.
Architecture and Landmarks: Arwad Island is home to several notable landmarks and architectural remnants. One of the most prominent structures is the Citadel of Arwad, a fortress that dates back to the Crusader period. This citadel served as a stronghold for various military forces throughout history. Other architectural features include ancient tombs, Roman columns, and remnants of medieval buildings.
Modern-day Arwad: Despite its small size, Arwad Island is still inhabited today. The local population engages in fishing, boat building, and tourism-related activities. The island has a distinctive character, with narrow streets, traditional houses, and a relaxed atmosphere. It attracts visitors who are interested in exploring its historical sites, enjoying its beaches, and experiencing its unique charm.