Hama

Orientation & Geography

Asia, Syria, Hama

Hama (Arabic: حماة‎, Ḥamā, pronounced [ħaˈmaː]; Biblical Ḥamāth, "fortress") is a city on the banks of the Orontes River in central Syria north of Damascus. It is the provincial capital of the Hama Governorate. Hama is the fourth-largest city in Syria - behind Aleppo, Damascus, and Homs - with a population of 696,863 (2009). The city is the location of the historical city Hamath. Hama is an important agricultural and industrial center in Syria, with 3,680 square kilometres (1,420 sq mi), over a third of the governorate's area, under cultivation. The governorate produces over half of the national crop of potatoes and pistachio nuts, as well as growing a variety of other vegetables. Livestock ranching is also common in the governorate. The city proper is renowned for its 17 norias used for watering the gardens, which—it is claimed—date back to 1100 BC. Though historically used for purpose of irrigation, the norias exist today as an almost entirely aesthetic traditional show.