|Elevation||1,200 m (3,900 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||+3|
Qanawat (Arabic: قنوات) is a village in Syria, located 7 km north-east of al-Suwayda. It stands at a height of about 1,200 m, near a river and surrounded by woods. Its inhabitants are entirely from the Druze community. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Qanawat had a population of 8,324 in the 2004 census.
Qanawat is one of the earliest cities in the Bashan and Hauran areas. It is probably evidenced in the bible as Kenath (Hebrew: קְנָת, Numbers 32:42, 1 Chronicles 2:23). Possible earlier evidence, is from Ancient Egyptian documents like the Execration texts (second group) of the 20-19th century BC, and the Amarna letters of the 14th century BC (as Qanu, in EA 204).
Hellenistic and Roman history
The ancient Hellenistic-Roman city of Canatha (also Kanatha, Κάναθα in Ancient Greek), is mentioned for the first time in the reign of Herod the Great (1st century BC), when Nabatean Arab forces defeated a Jewish army. It remained an issue of contention between the two powers. From Pompey's time until Trajan's, it was a city of the Decapolis, a loose federation of cities allowed by the Romans to enjoy a degree of autonomy. In the 1st century AD it was annexed to the Roman province of Syria, and in the 2nd century it was rechristened Septimia Canatha by Septimius Severus, a Roman colony, and transferred to the province of Arabia.
Only one of the bishops of Canatha is known by name: Theodosius took part in the Robber Council of Ephesus in 449, in the Council of Chalcedon in 451, and in a synod called by Patriarch Gennadius I of Constantinople in 459 against simony.
Early Islamic era
A center of Christianity in the area, Canatha was captured by the Muslim Arabs in 637, and declined in importance until in the 9th century it was reduced to a poor village.
In 1596 Qanawat appeared in the Ottoman tax registers as part of the nahiya (subdistrict) of Bani Nasiyya of the Hauran Sanjak. It had a population of twelve Muslim and five Christian households. Among the inhabitants were a group of settled Bedouin. The villagers paid a fixed tax rate of 20% on various agricultural products, including wheat, barley, summer crops, goats and/or beehives; a total of 4,750 akçe. Qanawat was abandoned between the 17th and 18th centuries. However, by the 1820s, it was among the first villages in the Jabal Hauran to be repopulated by Druze migrants from Mount Lebanon. At the time, five or six Druze families settled the village. Because of its Roman past, Qanawat already had paved pathways, readily available empty houses and water sources. However, its population had only incrementally increased between 1830 and 1850. Though during that period it became the home of Druze religious sheikhs, it was not until the 1850s that was Qanawat established as the seat of the preeminent shaykh al-aql (Druze religious leader) and the center of local Druze politics. Following further Druze migration to the area after the 1860 Mount Lebanon civil war, Qanawat grew into a large village.
The first shaykh al-aql of Qanawat was Ibrahim al-Hajari who played a key role in mobilizing Druze resistance to the conscription orders of the Egyptian governor Ibrahim Pasha in the late 1830s. Ibrahim died in 1840 and was succeeded by his son Husayn. Qanawat at the time was under the control of the Al Hamdan, the leading Druze family of the Hauran. However, under Husayn’s leadership, the Hajari family formed the mashaykat al-aql, which gradually became the main religious institution recognized by the Druze of Hauran. The Al Hamdan used it to further their influence among the Druze, but lost Qanawat to the Bani al-Atrash in the 1860s. The latter only nominally controlled Qanawat with the al-Hajari family running the village’s affairs independently through the mashaykhat al-aql.
The city's extensive ancient ruins are 1500 m in length and 750 m in breadth. Among them are a Roman bridge and a rock-hewn theatre, with nine tiers of seats and an orchestra nineteen meters in diameter, also a nymphaeum, an aqueduct, and a large prostyle temple with portico and colonnades. North-west of the town is a late 2nd or early 3rd century peripteral temple, built on a high platform surrounded by a colonnade. For years, this temple was believed to honour Helios, but an inscription discovered in 2002 shows that it was dedicated to a local god, Rabbos.
The monument known as Es-Serai (also Seraya, "palace") dates from around the 2nd century AD and was originally a temple, and then, from the 4th/5th centuries, a Christian basilica. It is 22 m long, and was preceded by an outside portico and an atrium with eighteen columns.
Gallery of images
- Betts, 2010, p. 22.
- "General Census of Population 2004". Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- Ewing, W (1915). "Kenath". In James Orr (ed.) (eds.). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2014-05-27.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
- Moran, William L, ed. (2002). The Amarna letters. The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 124, 391. ISBN 0801842514.
- Burns, 2009, pp. 246-247
- Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. II, coll. 867-868
- Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Leipzig 1931, p. 435
- Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 857
- Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 218.
- Firro 1992, p. 149.
- Firro 1992, p. 151.
- Firro 1992, p. 182.
- Firro 1992, p. 183.
- Firro 1992, p. 184.
- Burns, 2009, p. 249
- General view of Qanawat (click on photo to enlarge); Qanawat, Serail (click on photo to enlarge).
- Betts, Robert Brenton (2010). The Druze. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300048106.
- Burns, Ross (2009). The Monuments of Syria. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 0857714899.
- Firro, Kais (1992). A History of the Druzes, Volume 1. BRILL. ISBN 9789004094376.
- Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter; Abdulfattah, Kamal (1977). Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. ISBN 3-920405-41-2.
- Map of the town, Google Maps