Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene / Alexandria on the Indus (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Deir Ezzor on the Euphrates in Syria

Deir Ezzor is one of those cities whose foundations go back to the third millennium BC, the days of King Sargon I, till it fell in the hands of King Hammurabi (reigned 1728-1686 BC) , followed by the Assyrians, the Chaldeans and the Persians. It is located some 450 km northeast of Damascus on the banks of the Euphrates River. 

When Alexander the Great campaigned marched through Syria, Deir Ezzor became part of his empire. After his death in 323 BC, the country was ruled by Seleucos, one of his former generals. In Roman times this green oasis was a crossroad on the trade route that connected the Mediterranean Sea with India. We may not forget to mention Queen Zenobia who in the third century fervently opposed the Roman presence and occupied the city. 

By the fourth century, Deir Ezzor fell under the rule of Aleppo and afterwards became part of the Ayubbid and the Mamluk empires. Tamerlane (read more under the Label Central Asia) and his Mongols totally destroyed Deir Ezzor in 1401, after which the city sank into the desert and disappeared.  

In is only in recent years, when oil was discovered in the region that Deir Ezzor was revived, and this is what we are seeing today.
The confrontation with the Euphrates River is always an exciting experience. The river was used as a frontier line for eons and still is – in fact, the other side (east) is where Mesopotamia starts. The French, who arrived here end of the 19th century built a narrow suspension bridge, a mini San Francisco Bay-bridge, executed by nobody less than engineer Eifel! Recently, a wider modern bridge has been built for the motorized traffic. It is an unforgettable adventure to cross this old bridge on foot as it is now reserved to pedestrians and to feel the soft swinging movement caused by our steps. The strong current of the Euphrates is clearly visible from up here and setting foot on Mesopotamian soil for just a short moment it definitely worth the detour. 
This is the story in a nutshell. Unfortunately, no traces have been found of Alexander’s presence here – not yet at least.


  1. I walked across the old bridge, when I was there in 2005, in fact the whole town did in the night to stare at the Euphrates, it was lovely. When was the new one built? it might have been there at the time I guess.

    1. I was there in 2009 and understood that the new bridge was a rather recent affair, but I couldn't tell you exactly when. It must be wonderful to stand on this old bridge at night, by full moon for instance? Time comes at a standstill on those occasions, doesn't it?