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Orontes River

Greek: Ὀρόντης, Arabic: العاصي‎: ‘Āṣī, Turkish: Asi
Orontes River in Hama, Syria
Countries Lebanon, Syria, Turkey
Cities Homs, Hama, Jisr al-Shughur, Antakya
Source Labweh
 - location Beqaa Valley, Lebanon
 - elevation 910 m (2,986 ft)
 - coordinates
Mouth Samandağ
 - location Hatay Province, Turkey
 - coordinates
Length 571 km (355 mi)
Basin 23,000 km2 (8,880 sq mi)
 - average 11 m3/s (388 cu ft/s)

The Orontes (; Ὀρόντης) or Asi (Arabic: العاصي‎, ‘Āṣī; Turkish: Asi) is a northward flowing river starting in Lebanon and flowing through Syria and Turkey before entering the Mediterranean Sea.[1]

It was anciently the chief river of the Levant, also called Draco, Typhon and Axius. The last was a native form, from whose revival, or continuous employment in native speech, has preceded the modern name ‘Āṣī ("rebel"), because the river flows from the south to the north unlike the rest of the rivers in the region.[2]


  • Course 1
  • History 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


Orontes River in Hama, Syria, 1914

The Orontes rises in the springs near

Pop-up map of the Orontes River available at:

  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain
  1. ^ a b c d e f
  2. ^


See also

The French writer Maurice Barrès (1862–1923) wrote about the river in his Un Jardin sur l'Oronte.

The Orontes has long been a boundary marker. For the Egyptians it marked the northern extremity of Amurru, east of Phoenicia. For the Crusaders in the 12th century, the Orontes River became the permanent boundary between the Principality of Antioch and that of Aleppo.

The Orontes is not easily navigable and the valley derives its historical importance as a road for north/south traffic; from Antioch south to Homs and thence to Damascus.[1] On the Orontes was fought the major Battle of Kadesh (circa 1274 BCE) between the Egyptian army of Ramesses II from the south and the Hittite army of Muwatalli II from the north. The river was also the site of the Battle of Qarqar fought in 853 BCE, when the army of Assyria, led by king Shalmaneser III, encountered an allied army of 12 kings led by Hadadezer of Damascus. In 637 A.D. the Battle of Iron bridge was fought between the forces of the Rashidun Caliphate and the Byzantine Empire near the Iron bridge on the river made by Romans.

Map of the Orontes river. White lines are country borders, river names are italic on a blue background, current cities or major towns have white backgrounds, orange background for other places of significance.


Two large tributaries from the north, the southward flowing Tempe), and falls 50 metres (160 ft) in 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the sea just south of the little port of Samandağı (former Suedia, in antiquity Seleucia Pieria), after a total course of 450 kilometres (280 mi).[1]

[1] in Turkey.Antioch, where the river turns west into the plain of Jisr al-Hadid This central section ends at the rocky barrier of [1].Larissa and Apamea, containing the sites of ancient Amykes (Hamaih-Epiphaneia) and the meadows of Hamah (or Ḥimṣ). Below is the district of Homs and through the city of Roman-era dam in Syria also known as Qattinah lake formed by a Lake of Homs Leaving this it expands into the [1]

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