Cemeteries are located in the level land between
Tartous and Amrit, on the western side of the road
under the sand dune. Dated back to the Phoenician
and the Hellenistic periods Azar cemeteries are the
cemeteries of Amrit and Arwad inhabitants and they
were used in the Greek then the roman periods.
All the historic information about Azar cemeteries
mentioned in this text are taken from the Syrian
Archeological Annals folders issued by the
Directorate of Antiques and Museums in Damascus.
Azar cemeteries are 5 kilometers, south of Tartous.
2 kilometers from the Ancient Amrit to the north. ½
kilometers from the seaside. This is shown in
No one knows the origin of the name – Azar - of
that area covered with sand dune 3-5 m range
Some spaces in the cemeteries are rich in pottery
The responsible people for constructing Tartous
port were in need for sand since 1965 so they were
taking it from that area. No one knew that there
was a cemetery under the sand stretched along
With the increase in moving the sand, new features
of the cemeteries started to appear. It is widely
believed that the cemeteries are related to Arwad
island inhabitants facing this site. This idea has
come because there is no sign of cemeteries in
Arwad dated back to the same era of the mentioned
cemetery according to the Archeologist Ernest
Renan studies 1862.
A Brief overview
about Azar Cemeteries:
cemetery is composed of three kinds of tombs:
1- The single tombs with stony sepulchers.
2- The single tombs with clay coffin (tomb 2,
3- The Family Tombs (tomb D).
4- Other tomb samples were excavated by the existing
The Single Tombs:
The tomb is made of big sand stones. It can be found
among other Tombs. A complete skeleton was found in
one of them and it is now endanger due to using
bulldozers to remove the rubbish (from the dump
place that has been placed on that area).
Tombs with clay coffins:
Two near tombs were found. The corpse was put
inside the coffin with gypsum layer. This thing
cannot be found in other cemeteries like Om Horan,
Homs, and Palmyra.
The Family Tombs:
The excavated Family Tombs are four up till now.
The following illustration illustrates them
vertically and horizontally.
composed of a stair carved in rock that leads to
the vault, an internal hall square shape
surrounding rooms that consist 2 floors, each
floor consist of 11 tombs for putting the corpeses
in wood or leaden ones. Some of abraded wood
coffins have been found.
The vault’s roof is made of carved stones with an
Some of these roofs collapsed because of drifting
the sand by bulldozers.
The main door is carved in square rock 107 cm/109
cm. The upper part of it is a kind of half-circle
channeled shape connected by two halls at the
upper part in order to receive the sling.
It is revealed that the
vault which the leaden coffins found in, is dated
back to the 5th century B.C.
The skeleton of the dead which is related to an
old person was found in one of the Family Tombs
inside an abraded wood coffin. At the beginning of
the tomb there is a coned clay jar which has
notched surface and high neck.
Among the findings, there was a pedestal inscribed
by 13 Greek lines. Professor Paul Ricoreh is
specialized in Grecian writings and an expert in
such a domain.
Professor Adnan AlBuni translated them into
The text means (by a decision from the senate.
This sculpture had been presented to the port of
purple catchers who are habitants in the city as a
kind of reward and trust.)
While the process of removing the sand, a marble
medium undressed sculpture of Bacchus God has been
found holding a long loose garment in his left
hand with two pieces of grapes holding them to his
chest. The sculpture is missing a head. It can be
found in Tartous museum.
It is noteworthy to say that the findings in Azar
cemetery are so important so that the sculpture
(Bacchus god) and many local findings were shown
in the exhibition halls in Damascus during the
holding of the Classical Archeological
A general overview about the kinds of there
(Rare iron metals, clay kettles of zigzag surface,
coppered pots, golden leaflet and a golden pin)
They were found beside the dead in the burial
These findings enabled us to know the various
industries in the museums all over the world.
What attracts your attention is that these Family
Tombs took a long effort and time for building
because it was a kind of our habitant belief in
their eternal civilization and that it is the way
to the eternal life.
We are still aiming at eternity in spite of the
different ways of believes, while their blood
following in ours.
We are still building the stones of our new
civilization above our ancient one.
What was happened to our Phoenician ancestors- (in
the Hellenistic period) many years ago in Azar
cemetery – is an honor that could not be found in
Our ancestors who gave their civilization and
alphabet to the whole world, discovered the sea
navigation ways, and contributed in building the
Syrian civilization, but rubbish now are covering
their tombs and bones under the ground.
Nowadays, after stopping the aforementioned dump
place, bulldozers are collecting the rubbish and
removing them in order to reactive the site. There
were many destroying features of the cemetery in a
brutal way that the parts of the tomb and the
crashed clay jar were found here and there above
the archaeological hill.
We kindly ask for saving this site under the
supervision of the Directorate of Antiques and
Museums because of the importance of the
historical cemeteries that have a unique
geometrical touch. These cemeteries are suffering
from robbery and violations.
Let us keep our civilization and save these Family
If we damage one aspect of this civilization, this
means that we are damaging all of it.
We captured the following photos from our visit to
Azar cemeteries. They are self speaking photos.
A single archaeological tomb surrounded by the
archeological pedestal surrounded by rubbish.
traditional Phoenician jar. Bulldozers broke it
during the expanding of the dump place.
The archeological hill which is suffering from
drifting and damaging in order to put rubbish
in it (the upper small hall is the remains of
the jar in the previous picture).
importance of Amrit and its unique cemeteries
-Azar), we (a group of young people who are
interested in the civilization of the homeland) made
a study about Amrit city and its cemeteries. We
started with one of the important places (Azar
cemeteries) which are suffering from negligence and
They are located 2 km to the north of Amrit. They
are the cemeteries of Amrit and Arwad habitants.
They go back to the Roman, Hellenistic, and
Phoenician period and include single and double
A part of a Family Tomb. The national
excavation mission is working now in it.
composed of three layers
archeological excavation workshops are working now
in Azar under the supervision of the national
excavation mission. We are trying and doing our best
to give them all support. In spite of all
difficulties which are facing this mission
especially the lack of security and equipments, it
is still continuing its work motivated by its
national sense supported by families and societies