The old town was badly damaged when the Assad regime put down the uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982, but what is left of it still retains plenty of charm. The noria are large waterwheels that used to lift water from the Orontes River into a system of aqueducts that supplied the city and adjacent farmland. The wheels themselves have been restored, even if the (now thoroughly cleaned up) remaining sections of aqueduct are no longer in use. They are very impressive, and there are lots of pleasant gardens where you can sit close to them and have a coffee or snack. All in all, a fascinating and unexpectedly beautiful sight.
Just head for the town centre.
Rated three-star, and accessed rather unattractively by lift from a dingy corridor near the clock tower in the centre of Hama, this well located hotel is distinguished by exceptionally helpful staff. When asking where I might buy a replacement camera case, they arranged for one of the staff who is a tailor by day to stitch my broken strap.
Very good at arranging day trips to sites such as Apamea and Krak des Chavaliers, and working out how you might share with other visitors or those staying at the Cairo hotel which the management also owns. Taxi from the bus station should be 50 Syrian pounds.
tel (33) 512414
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