Bosra (Arabic: بصرى Buṣrā) and officially known as Busra al-Sham (Arabic: بصرى الشام) is a town in southern
. Today, Bosra is a major archaeological site,
containing ruins from Nabataean, Roman, Byzantine, and Muslim times. Deep
soundings have confirmed Middle Bronze (c. 2000- 1600 B.C) occupation at Bosra.
The name of Bosra occurs in the Tell el-Amarna tablets. These documents were
found in the Syria (=
Akhenaten, 1352- 1336 B.C.) at the site
of Tell el-Amarna in palace
of Amenophis IV .
The archive contains over 360 documents written in Akkadian on clay tablets. It is part of the diplomatic correspondence of
Akhenaten and his father Amenophis III. Bosra was the
northern capital of the Nabataean kingdom of the Roman Egypt ,
referred to in the Bible, in AD 106. province of Arabia
Successively it was an important religious metropolis of the Byzantine Empire and a caravan centre, in the role of a large frontier market on the pilgrim route to
Bosra was the first Byzantine city which the Arabs entered in 634 in the
phase of Islamic expansion. In Islam, Bosra is associated with a significant
episode in the life of the Prophet Mohammed, who is believed to have visited
Bosra twice. Mecca
Its main feature is the second century
Roma probably built under Trajan. The theatre is the only monument of his type with its upper
gallery in the form of a covered portico that has been integrally preserved. n
Between 481 and 1231 the theatre was fortified by walls and towers. From outside it could be an Arab fortress similar to many others.
The first line of defence is a deep ditch which can be crossed by a six-arched bridge. An iron-bound gate, a series of vaulted rooms, twisting passages, rampart walks, and all kinds of defensive works give an impression of the military quality of the castle. Walking towards the citadel one cannot expect to find at the heart of the castle a beautiful ancient theatre. The two structures are so closely integrated into one another that it is hard to distinguish the 13th-century wall from the cavea of the theatre.
The fortifications were added to create a strong citadel guarding the road to
. When the
Arabs entered Bosra they transformed it into an easily defensible citadel by
blocking all the doors and openings of the ancient theatre with thick walls. The
new threats posed by the Crusaders forced them to build in the mid-11th century
three new towers. Nine other larger ones followed between 1202 and 1251. Later
accretions overlaid the interior of the theatre and its ranges of seats, but at
the same time preserved them. Damascus
There is room for 15,000 spectators to face a stage that is 45 m long and 8.5 m deep. Historic texts reveal that the whole theatre was draped with silk hangings to protect the audience from both summer sun and winter rain. The interior has been fully uncovered and restored by the Department of Antiquities, which began its work here shortly after
became independent. Syria
I took these pictures in 2008. I have no information about the current situation at Bosra.