Arwad is an island located in the Mediterranean sea; the entire island is the single town of Arwad. The city is still occupied to this day, with roughly 4,000 inhabitants, predominantly in the fish industry.
Settlement evidence on the island dates back to Phoenician groups in the 2ndmillennium BCE. The city, which quickly became an independent kingdom, is often cited as the first known examples of a republic. The city would have occupied a space of roughly 800m x 500m, with fortifications around the edge of the island and residences of several stories.
The city’s maritime importance allowed it to extend its hegemony over nearby coastal cities, including Amrit. The site was also sought after by powerful empires, and the Egyptians captured the island in 1472 BCE. To attest to it’s prominence in the region, Arwad is mentioned in the Tell el-Amarna letters.
Arwad eventually fell into Persian control, but was allowed to maintain a degree of autonomy as a confederate state with Sidon and Tyre. Arwad was thus able to maintain its importance throughout the Roman era. The city would prosper as a bishopric and was eventually used as a key piece of land during the Holy Crusades, in which it was the last piece of land that the Crusaders managed to maintain as a garrison until Pope Clement V.
Aspects of the ancient city have been maintained, but the island is still occupied, so much of the city has been modernized to some extent. The fortress still stands, though it has been remodelled.