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The site of Amrit is located near Tartus in Syria, at the confluence of two rivers: the Nahr Amrit and Nahr al-Kuble. It is an ancient Phoenician settlement dating back to the 3rd millennium BCE. The city was abandoned in the 2ndcentury CE and was not reoccupied. The site was placed on the World Monuments Fund watch list of endangered sites in 2004.

It is believed that the city was founded by the Arvadites, as a continental base, and was one of the wealthiest towns in the region for much of its existence. The city is known to have surrendered to Alexander the Great in 333 BCE. The town once again prospered during Seleucid times, eventually gaining independent status from Arwad, until it was sacked in 148 BCE.

The remains of Amrit have been excavated since the 1860s, with modern excavations beginning in 1954. The earliest finds were ceramics from the 3rdmillennium BCE and several Bronze Age ‘silo tombs’ were also found. A Phoenician temple, the ma’abed, was excavated between 1955-67. The large temple, dating to the Persian expansion of the late 4th century BCE, features a court measuring 47 x49 metres with a cella standing in its centre. The architecture reflects the period, with strong Achaemenid influence. This courtyard would have been filled with water from an important local spring.

The site also features a Stadium, which is separated from the rest of the site by the Nahr Amrit river. Though the dimensions are similar to the stadium of Olympia, it is a pre-Olympian, Phoenician stadium.

Of significant archaeological importance is the Necropolis of Amrit, which contains underground ‘silo tombs’ as well as two burial towers, referred to as ‘the spindles’. Finds from the tombs date back as early as the 5th century BCE.

Today, the Phoenician ruins remain with little remodeling. The site, however, has been plagued by vandalism and development projects.

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