Salkhad ( ar|صَلْخَد ') is a Syrian city in the As-Suwayda Governorate
, southern Syria
It is the capital of Salkhad District
, one of the governorate's three districts. It has a population of 15,000 inhabitants.
It is located at 1350 metres above sea level in the central Jabal el Druze
Mentioned several times in the Bible as "Salcah
", as a settlement in biblical Bashan
. During the second century BC Salcah was a flourishing Nabataean
city, where the gods Dushara
were worshiped. Afterwards it was incorporated into the Roman
province of Arabia
, it was one of the important cities in Hauran
during Roman and later Byzantine
epochs, Salkhad is indicated in the Madaba mosaic map
of the sixth century AD.
Due to the strategic position of the city overlooking Hauran plains to the west, the Ayyubid
dynasty built a fortress in Salkhad between 1214–1247 to counter a possible attack of the Crusades
into inner Hauran. It has also been said that Al-Afdal
was exiled here by his uncle and brother
The importance of the city decreased after the Crusades, and it was occasionally overrun by Bedouins
seeking pasture in the summer for their flocks.
In 1596, Salkhad appeared in the Ottoman tax registers
as ''Salhad (Sarhad)'' and was part of the ''nahiya
'' of Bani Malik as-Sadir in the Hauran Sanjak
. It had a Muslim
population consisting of 55 households and 25 bachelors, and a Christian
population of 50 households and 20 bachelors. The residents paid a fixed tax-rate of 40% on wheat
, summer crops, goats and beehives; a total of 36,500 akçe
A number of Greek orthodox
Christians, of Ghassanid
ancestry, successively remained in the region. The town itself was abandoned in the late 18th century, but was repopulated by Druze
and Greek Orthodox Christian families from Mount Lebanon
beginning in 1858.
[Firro, 1992, p]
During Ottoman times, the city enjoyed a feudal-type autonomy like much of the Jabal el Druze area under the chieftaincy of Al-Hamdan family and later Al-Atrash family, many battles against Ottoman Turks took place in this region by the locals to maintain their autonomy.
In the early 20th century, the city was part of the 1921–1936 Druze state under the French Mandate of Syria, the state was gradually incorporated into Syria after the Syrian Revolution of 1925–1927 led by Sultan Al-Atrash.
The city now is the centre of Salkhad district of As-Suwayda Governorate, it is the southernmost district in Syria.
Salkhad has a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification: ''BSk''). In winter there is more rainfall than in summer. The average annual temperature in Salkhad is . About of precipitation falls annually.
The fortress of Salkhad is the most important monument located in a hill inside the city, built between 1214 and 1247 by the Ayyubid dynasty as a part of their defences against the crusades. It is said that this fortress were built in the site of older Roman fortifications. A hexagonal basalt minaret still standing intact in the city's main square. Many Roman old time houses, still partially inhabited by locals. Nabatean, Roman and Ayyubid tombs are also there with decorative motifs.
Old image of the Fortress of Salkhad
Map of the town
Category:Cities in Syria
Category:Hebrew Bible cities
Category:Populated places in Salkhad District
Category:Archaeological sites in as-Suwayda Governorate
Category:Druze communities in Syria
Category:Eastern Orthodox Christian communities in Syria