Syria / Cities and Towns /
City in Syria with 730,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), capital of the Homs province, near the Orontes River.
The main product of Homs is silk. Other important products include jewelry, belts and cloaks. Industries include an oil refinery, production of fertilizers, vegetable oil and refined sugar. The surrounding area produces wheat, corn, millet, cotton, fruits and vegetables, for which Homs is the centre of trade.
Homs has a strategic position, facing the only natural gateway between the Mediterranean coast and the densely populated interior (with access to Aleppo to the north and Damascus to the south).
Homs has a university that opened in 1979, a very important military academy, as well as an agricultural research station.
1st century BCE: The city of Emesa becomes one of the most important Syrian cities during the Roman reign. The main reason for this was the temple for the sun god, El-Gebal. Under the Romans, Emesa was ruled by priest-kings.
270's CE: Roman Emperor Severus Alexander makes Emesa his headquarter in the battle against Queen Zenobia of Palmyra.
636: Falls to the Arab Muslims, and becomes ruled by the Umayyad caliphate in Damascus. At this time, a large part of the population is Christian. The Arabs named the city Hims (Homs).
855: A rebellion causes the Muslim rulers of Damascus to demolish the churches of Homs and have the Christian population executed and deported.
944: Homs is taken by the Hamdanid prince Sayf ad-Dawla, and included into the Hamdanid domain.
1516: Homs, together with the rest of the Middle East succumbs to Ottoman control.
1941: Homs, as part of Syria, gains independence.