After a dinner in Homs yesterday with Fadi’s family, we then spent then night in Hama (Homs does not yet have the infrastructure such has hotels to accommodate tourists) with late ice cream, a quick walk around, and last minute 10% ABV beer delivered to our hotel room afterwards.
We found it ironic that we found a statue of Assad in Hama. The Sunni majority here had once made Hama the epicenter of an uprising against the policies of Arab nationalism and the Ba’ath philosophy. The President’s brother, Rifaat al-Assad, later ensured a siege of the city to violently put an end to the revolts; the subsequent executions became known as the Hama massacre, a story that remains highly sensitive here in Syria.
The Hama Massacre also led to the military term “Hama Rules” which means scorched earth tactics against and total destruction of a military target.
Waking up the next morning to the sounds of military jets buzzing above, we had breakfast at the hotel while hearing about everyone’s hangovers on the 10% ABV Syrian “Buzz Beer” that Hotel Nora had served us last night.
At 10am we took a morning stroll along their famous (and distinctly noisy) waterwheels, also known as norias.
Hama had been home to 17 norias that dated back to the Byzantine times. Fed by the Orontes river, they are up to 20 meters/66 feet in diameter with the largest being the al-Mamunye and the al-Muhammediye, built in 1361, the latter of which was designated a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as marking a major international advance forward in engineering technology.
There are only 9 norias remaining. Originally they were used to route water into aqueducts, which led into the town and the neighboring agricultural areas. They now make a sound that sound like an inconsistent diesel engine or struggling rubber tires in friction about to come off.
A restaurant overlooking the river will let you climb over the back wall for a closer shot of the waterwheels.
We also took that morning enjoying a walk along Hama’s old town to look behind the music, I mean, the waterwheels.
Once 11am came around we drove north to Aleppo.
- At time of posting in Hama, it was 27 °C - Humidity: 42% | Wind Speed: 5km/hr | Cloud Cover: mostly clear