Syrian Coastal Mountain Range

Map of Syria showing the mountain range

The Coastal Mountain Range (Arabic: سلسلة الجبال الساحلية Silsilat al-Jibāl as-Sāḥilīyah) is a mountain range in northwestern Syria running north-south, parallel to the coastal plain.[1] The mountains have an average width of 32 kilometres (20 mi), and their average peak elevation is just over 1,200 meters with the highest peak, Nabi Yunis, reaching 1,562 metres (5,125 ft), east of Latakia.[1] In the north the average height declines to 900 metres (3,000 ft), and to 600 metres (2,000 ft) in the south.


Classically, this range was known as the Bargylus;[2] a name mentioned by Pliny the elder.[3] The Greek "Bargylus" had its roots in the name of an ancient city-kingdom called Barga most probably located in the vicinity of the mountains;[4][5] it was a city of the Eblaite Empire in the third millennium BC,[6] and then a vassal kingdom of the Hittites,[7] who named the mountain range after Barga.[8]

Under the Hashashins were known as the Jabal Bahra (جبل بحراء).[9] They are also sometimes known as the Nusayriyah Mountains (جبال النصيرية Jibāl an-Nuṣayriyah) or the Alawiyin Mountains (جبال العلويين Jibāl al-‘Alawīyin); both of these names refer to the Alawi ethnoreligious group which has traditionally lived there, though the former term is based on an antiquated label for the community that is now considered insulting.


The western slopes catch moisture-laden winds from the Mediterranean Sea and are thus more fertile and more heavily populated than the eastern slopes. The Orontes River flows north alongside the range on its eastern verge in the Ghab valley, a 64 kilometres (40 mi) longitudinal trench,[10] and then around the northern edge of the range to flow into the Mediterranean. South of Masyaf there is a large northeast-southwest strike-slip fault which separates An-Nusayriyah Mountain from the coastal Lebanon Mountains and the Anti-Lebanon Mountains of Lebanon, in a feature known as the Homs Gap.[1]

Between 1920 and 1936, the mountains formed parts of the eastern border of the Alawite State within the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Federal Research Division, Library of Congress (2005) "Country Profile: Syria" page 5
  2. Hackett, Horatio B. (editor) (1870) Dr. William Smith's Dictionary of the Bible: comprising its antiquities, biography, geography, and natural history (Volume IV, Regum-Melech to Zuzims) Hurd and Houghton, New York, page 3142, OCLC 325913985
  3. William Smith (1857). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography: Iabadius-Zymethus. p. 1071.
  4. British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (1923). Supplementary Papers. p. 10.
  5. Erich Ebeling; Bruno Meissner; Ernst Weidner; Dietz Otto Edzard (1932). Reallexikon der Assyriologie (in German). 1. p. 401.
  6. Cyrus Herzl Gordon; Gary Rendsburg; Nathan H. Winter (2002). Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-57506-060-6.
  7. Gordon Douglas Young (1981). Ugarit in Retrospect: Fifty Years of Ugarit and Ugaritic. p. 227.
  8. James Orr (1930). The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia. 3. p. 1400.
  9. Hunyadi, Zsolt; Laszlovszky, József, eds. (2001). The Crusades and the Military Orders: Expanding the Frontiers of Medieval Latin Christianity. Ceu Medievalia. Budapest: Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Central European University Press. p. 27. ISBN 963-9241-42-3.
  10. Encyclopædia Britannica - Syria

Coordinates: 35°15′N 36°06′E / 35.250°N 36.100°E / 35.250; 36.100

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