During the early Roman Rule, Homs was primarily designated as a place of worship for El – Gabal, the Roman sun god. By the 5th century, when the Byzantine Empire conquered the place, Homs became an ecclesiastic metropolis – where the Christian Religion became the predominant religion in the area. At this time, several structures were commissioned by the church to mainly cater to the city’s Christian population.
After centuries of being known as an Eastern Christian City, Muslim Arabs finally conquered the Homs by 637 CE. This happened when the troops of Heraclius were beaten by the revered Muslim warrior Umar ibn al – Khattab. Throughout the Muslim rule the place had undergone a lot of transformations. Some buildings were altered to suit the needs of both Christian and Muslim worshippers. One notable alteration that was that of St. John’s church where the half of the structure was transformed into a mosque that is now known as The Great Mosque of Al – Nuri.
Several rulers and centuries after, the city still exists today. In fact it is one of Syria’s prime cities that are basically famous for its cultural and religious diversity and a thriving population. In addition, it is also frequented by a lot of tourists due to the following destinations:
Krak des Chevalier’s
This is a massive military castle that is constructed on top of a high hill. It was initially built by the crusaders both for offense and defense against other armies that threatened them. Today, if you visit the castle, you will see that most of its structures are still intact. In fact some of the frescoes created by the Crusaders can still be seen from the walls and ceiling of the structure.
This same castle also happens to be one of the World Heritage Sites that can be found in Syria.
Mosque of Khalen Ibn Al – Walid
The whole mosque basically takes pride in its majestic Ottoman Architecture. It was built right after the WWI to honor one of Syria’s generals – Khalen Ibn Al – Walid. He was said to be an accomplished military tactician and leader with 50 battles under his belt.
Of course, those are not the only two sites that you need to see in Homs. If you want to get to know the history and the culture of the city further, you can always visit the city’s museum and the Museum of Tradition.