Syria Tartous. History of Tartous
Not much remains of the Phoenician Antaradus (Anti-Aradus – the town facing Arwad ), the mainland settlement that was linked to the more important and larger settlement in Arwad .
This town was favored by Constantine for its devotion to the cult of the Virgin. The first chapel to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary is said to have been built here in the 3rd century. Two centuries later an earthquake hit the chapel and the altar was miraculously saved. This miracle was further enhanced by an icon of the Virgin believed to be painted by St. Luke resembling the one in Seidnaya. The church ‘Our Lady of Tortosa’ was built upon this miracle by the Crusaders in 1123. It now houses this altar and has received many pilgrims.
Tartous part2 Nur Al Din occupied for a brief time and then it was recaptured by the Crusaders. Tartous was placed under the control of the Templars who rebuilt and redeveloped its defenses. It was then recaptured by Saladin in 1188, whence the Templars locked themselves into the keep. However it was rebuilt and remained under Templar control until 1291. Tartous was the last stand the Templars had on the mainland of Syria departing to Arwad , which they kept for another decade.
It was of little use to most, including the Ottomans and the French, however in recent decades it has quickly developed into Syria’s second port. As for the Cathedral it was used as a mosque for a while then as a barracks for the Ottomans. It was renovated under the French and turned into a museum.
The Isle of Arwad, round and tightly packed like a bee-hive, consists of a conglomeration of houses and strongholds. These a beats up against the foot of the walls. There is no tree and not a single piece of vegetation in sight. There is only one space, and a rather confined one at that, which serves both a quayside, wharf and forum, and which looks on to the busy harbor full of sailing- and fishing-boats and fishing-smacks of all colors.
This is the only island in Syria, and it is located 3 kilometers from Tartus. It was an independent kingdom named Aradus in the days of Canaanites. It was often mentioned in inscriptions because of its importance in commerce and seafaring.
Arwad provided shelter for those escaping from foreign invasions in ancient times, especially for the people of Amrit in the south of Tartus