Bara is one of the ‘Dead Cities’ of Northwestern Syria, located in the Zawiya Mountains very near Serjilla. The site shares a name with the nearby town of al-Bara, which has a population of roughly 11,000 people. Bara was established in the 4th century as a stopover on the trade route between Antioch and Apamea. Much like the nearby city of Serjilla, Bara was rich due to production of wine and olive oil.
Bara is characterized by an unusually long settlement record for one of the Dead Cities. As Arab conquerors disrupted the trade routes on which the Dead Cities relied, Bara remained both inhabited and Christian. Eventually, the town flourished enough to become a bishopric. Bara was not abandoned until the 12th century, after suffering a severe earthquake.
Today, Bara is home to the most extensive ruins in the Dead Cities, with the remains of five churches, three monasteries multiple villas and luxurious tombs. Again, these remains highlight the wealth of the city and its unusual staying power among the Dead Cities.