Baniyas Explained

Native Name:بانياس
Pushpin Map:Syria
Pushpin Label Position:bottom
Pushpin Map Caption:Location in Syria
Pushpin Mapsize:250
Subdivision Type:Country
Subdivision Type1:Governorate
Subdivision Name1:Tartus Governorate
Subdivision Type2:District
Subdivision Name2:Baniyas District
Unit Pref:Metric
Population As Of:2008 est.
Population Total:42, 128
Population Blank1 Title:Ethnicities
Population Blank2 Title:Religions
Utc Offset:+2
Timezone Dst:+3
Area Code:43

Baniyas (Arabic: بانياس) is a city of northwestern Syria, located at the foot of the hill of Qalcat el-Marquab, 55 km to the south of Latakia (ancient Laodicea) and 35 km north of Tartous (ancient Tortosa), and a Catholic titular see under the Latin name of Balanea, which is presently vacant.

It is famous for its orchards and its export of wood. Today it is best known for its oil refinery north of the city. It still contains citrus fruit orchards surrounded by green hills. On one of the hills is the imposing Margat Citadel, a huge Knights Hospitaller fortress constructed of black basalt stone.


In Phoenician times, it was an important seaport, known to the Greeks as Balemia. The city of Balanaea, its Latin name, was a colony of Aradus (Strabo, XVI, 753), and was placed by Stephanus Byzantius in Phoenicia, though it belonged rather to the former Roman province of Syria. Its first known bishop was present at the Council of Nicaea in 325 (Lequien, Oriens Christ., II, 923).

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