Amrit / Amurre
colonists from Arvad in the late
third millennium BC, Amrit was a town in the modern Latakia Province which
was situated 50km (30 miles) to the north of Tripoli. Initially under the
authority of Arvad, like the rest of the region, it saw a procession of
various peoples and powers, including
Phoenicians, and the great
empires of the first millennium BC.
By the time Alexander the Great annexed the region to his
Greek empire. Amrit was one of the biggest cities in the ancient world.
At least until the first century BC it apparently played an important role,
with coins being minted here. Today it houses the remains of the only
well-preserved Phoenician temple in the world, the Temple of Amrit.
This was a Phoenician city which spent much of its existence under the
control of Sidon
(eight miles to the north). It was first mentioned in
Egyptian records in the fourteenth century BC, and the Old Testament
comments on it being subject to Sidon during the reign of the
Samarian king, Ahab (870-848 BC). There it is called Zarephath. By the
first century AD the
port of Sarepta existed about a kilometre to the south (as mentioned by
Josephus). The city survived until at least the fourteenth century AD, after
the collapse of the
kingdoms in the area.