Raqqa is a city in Syria, best known for serving as the headquarters of ISIS between 2014 and 2017.

Understand edit

The Abbasid-era Baghdad Gate, in front of Awis al-Qarni Mosque

While Raqqa became know to the world as the capital of the self-declared Islamic State between 2013-2017, the city has a long history as a Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine city. Many historic sights and artifacts have however been destroyed or lost during the fight to liberate the city. As of early 2020 the local government is still struggling to bring back basic services, however efforts have been made to save and restore some of the historic buildings and sights within the city.

Get in edit

As of 2022, the border with Turkey remains closed, and all other overland routes remain dangerous. Buses and shared taxis do run from Damascus and Aleppo but as they crosses the border between government-held areas and self-declared Rojava, there are many security checkpoints.

Get around edit

Shared taxi is the most common way of getting around with in the city, walking is an option in the centre. Be aware that many buildings are still in rubble and can be hazardous.

See edit

Ruins of the Qasr al-Banat castle. The ruins have mostly survived the civil war intact.
  Note: Extensive damage has been done to these places by ISIS and the ensuing battles.
(Information last updated 27 Jul 2020)
  • 1 Great Mosque of Raqqa (الجامع الكبير في الرقة). First built in 772 AD, this mosque was extensively damaged during by fighting in 2017. Reconstruction efforts started in late 2019.    
  • 2 Ruins of Qasr al-Banat Castle. Ruins of a 12th century palace.    
  • 3 Raqqa Museum (متحف الرقة). Damaged during the civil war, the museum has now been renovated and is once again open to the public. However, of the more then 5,000 artifacts that was housed before the war, only about 1,300 remains.    
  • 4 Raqqa City Walls. Assyrian fortifications, survived the 2017 siege of the city except for a 25-m-long stretch that was demolished to allow Syrian Democratic Forces troops to enter the Old City.
  • 5 Baghdad Gate (باب بغداد). One of the surviving historic city gates.  
  • 6 Tuttul (Tell Bi'a). Archaeological site of the Broze Age town of Tuttul.    
  • 7 Ruins of Heraqla victory monument (8 km west of the city). Ruins of an unfinished victory monument from the time of Harun al-Rashid said to commemorate the conquest of the Byzantine city of Herakleia in 806. The monument is preserved in a substructure of a square building in the centre of a circular walled enclosure, 500 metres (1,600 ft) in diameter. However, the upper part was never finished because of the sudden death of Harun al-Rashid in 809 AD.  

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The Euphrates near Raqqa

Sleep edit

Stay safe edit

See the warning in the Syria article.

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