Syria / Cities and Towns /
City in Syria with 150,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), in the Tartus province, on the coast facing the Mediterranean Sea, and opposite Arwad Island, about 3 km offshore.
Tartus thrives from being a fishing port, and the largest city and centre of a rich agricultural region. Today, Tartus is the second largest port of Syria next to Latakia. The city has also seen substantial growth from benefits of its proximity to coastal Lebanon, both trough trade and also the heavy military presence in Lebanon.
Among the most important sights of Tartus are the Cathedral of Our Lade of Tortosa from the 13th century, and the Castle of the Templars of late 12th to 13th century.
2nd millennium BCE: Founded as a mainland colony of Arados (today's Arwad Island), itself originally a Phoenician colony city. The colony was named Antarados.
346 CE: Rebuilding starts by the command of Emperor Constantine 1 of Rome, after years of neglect. This marked the beginning of centuries of economic growth for the city.
1099: Conquered from Muslim control by the Crusaders, who named the city Tartosa. They built fortresses to protect the city against the Muslim troops.
1183: Control of Tartosa is transferred to the Templars.
1291: The Christians are driven out by Arab Muslim troops, and Tartus (its new name) becomes part of the Mamluke Empire.
1516: As most of today's Syria and Lebanon is conquered by the Ottoman sultan Selim 1, Tartus also falls to the Ottomans. Years of economic decline starts.
1916: Together with the rest of Syria, Tartus comes under French colony control.
1945: With the independence of Syria, Tartus becomes part of the new state.