The majestic Hellenistic ancient city of Apamea is in the Orontes Valley, west-central Syria.
Apamea was founded by Alexander the Great, who had named it Pella after his own hometown and birthplace in the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon.
After the death of Alexander (323 BCE), his vast empire was divided amongst his Generals and officers. Seleucus I Nicator -an army officer of Alexander the Great, founded the Seleucid kingdom, which was an empire which included modern day Syria and Iran.
Around 300 BCE, the city that Alexander founded (Pella) was renamed to Apamea by Seleucus I Nicator. Apame was the name of his Persian Wife. As part of the powerful Seleucid kingdom, Apamea flourished and became an important military base and Hellenistic provincial centre. It was part of the Syrian Tetrapolis (Antioch, Seleucia, Laodicea, Apamea) which comprised the four largest cities founded by Seleucus I Nicator.
The city eventually fell to the Roman Empire around 64 BCE, taken by the great Roman military and political leader Pompey. Apamea suffered serious damage after a severe earthquake in AD 115 and was largely rebuilt after this period. All the archaeological remains seen today are from the second century AD.
The former splendour of the ancient city is showcased by the Grand colonnaded avenue or cardo maximus, which is one of the longest and widest in the ancient world, running nearly two kilometres long and was lined with tall columns capped with decorative entablature.
The celebrated ancient city was notable enough to be visited by Cleopatra and Mark Anthony and Hannibal and, at its height, had a population of 500,000. The past splendours of vast windswept, lonely archaeological site of Apamea cover over two hundred and fifty acres, with a considerable amount yet to be excavated.
Apamea is on the UNESCO Tentative List, which is a list of properties considered being cultural and/or natural heritage of outstanding universal value and therefore suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List.
The site of Apamea was heavily looted at an industrial level during the Syrian War.
All images, text and content are copyright Steven Sklifas.