About Qatna Archaeological Park
Qatna Archaeological Park in Tell Mishrifeh, Syria, houses the ruins of what was the thriving ancient Mesopotamian city of Qatna. Sat on an important crossroads between the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia, Palestine and Egypt, Qatna reached its peak during the Bronze Age.
Qatna Archaeological Park history
Known to have first been occupied in the 3rd millennium BC, Qatna’s location on an important commercial and political crossroad connecting it to both the Mitanni empire and the ancient Egyptians allowed it to flourish. In fact, in the period between 1600 BC and 1200 BC, in the Late Bronze Age, Qatna grew to become a local kingdom.
This period heralded a great deal of construction, including the building of Qatna’s acropolis. One significant part of Qatna Archaeological Park which is now open is an area of the Royal Palace. Constructed from 1650 BC to 1550 BC and with over 80 rooms on one level alone, Qatna Royal Palace would have been an impressive sight, but was devastated during the Hittite conquest of Syria in 1340 BC.
Qatna Archaeological Park today
Today, lying 20 kilometres north of Homs, the site at Qatna continues to be systematically excavated although there are several sites still to be seen if visiting. Measuring 130 metres from east to west, the palace dominates most of the above-surface site and is joined by two impressive basalt statues cut into the bedrock. Seated in the old Syrian Bronze Age style, the statues guard the entrance to a grave.
Getting to Qatna Archaeological Park
Just a half hour drive from Homs on the D48, Qatna is best reached by car. Please check your government travel guidelines before going to Syria however.
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