Geographical names of countries, towns, villages, and monasteries mentioned in this book, in addition to those names familiar to the reader – Mor Ignatius Aphram Barsoum – Translated : By Dr. Matti Moosa

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Geographical names of countries, towns, villages, and monasteries mentioned

in this book, in addition to those names familiar to the reader


Atharib الأثاريب : a citadel between Aleppo and Antioch, some three leagues distant from Aleppo. It no longer exists.

Azerbayjan اذربيجان : a vast territory whose boundaries extended from the Caspian Sea in the east to Lake Van in the west.

Arbil أربيل : a town about two days’ journey southeast of Mosul.

Arzinjan أرزنجان : a town southwest of the province of Erzrum. The natives call it Arzingan.

Arzun أرزون : a large city, formerly northwest of Seert. Its ruins can still be seen.

Arsamosata (Samosata) أرشميشاط : a city in the Roman territory on the Euphrates. To its east lies Balu, and to its west Kharput, contiguous to Armenia.

Azekh آزخ: a large ancient village in the province of Bazabdi (Beth Zabdai), about seven hours’ journey from Jazirat ibn Umar. It is inhabited by Syrians.

Isfes إسفِس : a village in the province of Bazabdi, one hour’s journey from Azekh.

Scete اسقيط : a desert west of Cairo, once the abode of Egyptian ascetics.

Apamea آفامية أو فامية : once a large city northeast of Hama, it is now in ruins and is called Qalat al-Madiq.

Aqsarai (Aqsara) أقسراي أو أقصرا : a town sixty miles northeast of Konya.

Agel آجل : a small town north of Diyarbakr.

Amasea أماسيّة: a town fifty miles south of Samsun, on the bank of Yashil Irmaq.

Amid (D iyarbakr)آمـد أو دياربكر : an ancient fortified city, virtually surrounded by the Tigris.

Aorim اوريم : a ruined town on the Euphrates, near Samosata.


Bajabbara باجبّارة : a village north of Mosul on the Khuser Creek, ruined in the middle of the thirteenth century.

Beth Khudayda باخديدة : a large village in the province of Nineveh, north of Mosul; now called Qaraqosh.

Barumman (Barumma) بارمذان أو بارما : a village on the Tigris, now in ruins, five hours’ journey northeast of Mosul.

Barumana (or Rumana) بارومانة  أو رومانة : an ancient town in Karkar (in Iraq).

Basekhra باصخرا أ باصخرايا : a small village east of Bartulli (in Iraq).

Baarbaya باعربايا : a small territory between Nisibin and Sinjar.

Baqufa باقوفا : a village in the mountains of Lebanon.

Balis (Balish) باليس أو بالش : a town in Syria between Aleppo and al-Raqqa, known in antiquity as Perpalisos, it is now Maskana.

Banuhadra بانوهدرا : a town north of Mosul, now called Duhuk.

Badlis بدليس : a town near Khalat, southeast of Lake Van.

Bartulli برطلّلي : a large village in the province of Nineveh, north of Mosul.

Al-Bushayriyya بشيريّة وتعرّف باللام: a town two days’ journey north of Diyarbakr.

Busra بُصرى : a small town in Hawran, now called Eski Sham.

Batnan بَطْنان : an ancient town, formerly located near Saruj.

Bashiqa بعشيقة : a village north of Mosul.

Baltan بعلتان : an extinct village in the province of Josya, seven hours’ journey south of Hims.

Bagdashiyya بكدشيّة : a village near Kafrtut, in the province of Mardin.

Balad بَللد : an ancient town above Mosul on the western bank of the Tigris, ruined in the fourteenth century. It is now called Eski Mosul.

Beth Arsham بيث أرشم : an extinct town south of Baghdad, near al-Madain (Ctesiphon). Its exact location is unknown.

Beth Batin بيث باتين : an extinct town outside Harran.

Beth Shahaq بيث شاهاق: an ancient town in the province of Mosul.


Tabriz (Tawriz) تبريز أو توريز : a very famous town of Azerbayjan, in Persia.

Tahal تَحل : an ancient village in the province of Bajermi (Beth Garmai), which is the Liwa of Kirkuk (in Iraq).

Tiflis تفليس : an old city in Georgia, in Russia.

Takrit تكريت : an ancient city west of the Tigris, between Baghdad and Mosul. In the golden age of the Syrians, it was the seat of the Maphrians of the East from 628 A.D. until the end of the twelfth century.

Talla (Tall Mawzalt, or Mawzan) تلّلا أو تل موزلث أو تل موزن : once a flourishing town between Mardin and al-Ruha (Edessa), about two leagues from Mardin. Today it is a small village called Wayran Shahr.

Tall Arsenius (Tell) تل أرسانيوس ويقال فيها تل: on the Euphrates, near Kharput.

Tallbsam (Tallbsma) تلّ بسمة  تلّ بسم : a town in the district of Rabia, later Shabkhtan, northwest of Mardin.

Tall Batriq تلّ بطريق : a town formerly in Roman territory, one of many which formed the line of fortification between Roman and Muslim territories near Malatya (Melitene).

Tall Mahre تل محرى : a small town between Hisn Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik and al-Raqqa, now called Tall al-Manakhir.

Tall Qbab قباب تلّ: a village near Mardin; it had a substantial population in the thirteenth century.

Tinnis تِنيّس: an ancient city southwest of Port Said, ruined in 1227 A.D.

Al-Jabal al-Aswad (“The Black Mountain”):الجبل الأسود  a mountain near Antioch in Seleucia, which is now called Suwaydiyya.

Al-Jabal al-Mubarak (“The Blessed Mountain”) الجبل المبارك : a mountain in the district of Melitene.

Al-Jabal al-Muqaddas الجبل المقدس (“The Holy Mountain”): a mountain east of Edessa which became famous for its many monasteries.

Al-Gabbul الجبّول : a town north of Aleppo, near the Euphrates, from which salt was brought to the province of Aleppo.

Jarabuls جرابلس : the ancient Europa, a town west of the Euphrates and north of Manbij (in Syria).

Jazirat ibn Umar جزيرة ابن عمر : a town between Mosul and Diyarbakr, in a deep valley on the west bank of the Tigris.

[Upper] Jazira (Diyar Rabia) الجزيرة العليا أو ديار ربيعة : a district between the rivers Khabur and Tigris. In ancient times it was the abode of the Taghlib, a large Arab tribe which was Syrian Orthodox and remained Christian until the tenth century. One of its members is the famous poet Ghiyath ibn Ghawth, nicknamed al-Akhtal (ca. 710 A.D.). It became desolate in the fourteenth century, but was resettled about 1921. New towns such as Hasaka, Qamishli, and others were built in it.

Jubas جوباس : a ruined city near Melitene.

Josya جوسية: a district about six leagues from Hims, towards Damascus, situated between the mountains of Lebanon and Sinnir. Today it is a small village, recently built near the ruins of ancient Josya.

Hidl حدل : a village of Bazabdi, above Isfes.

Harran حرّان : once a great city, a day’s journey south from Edessa. It was considered the capital of Diyar Misr, but now is a small village.

Hardin حردين : a village in the Batrun in Lebanon, six hours’ journey from Tripoli.

Harqal حَرقل: an ancient town in Palestine, whose location is unknown.

Herrin حرّين : a village south of Mardin.

Hassasa الحصاصة: an ancient village in southern Iraq, near Qasr ibn Hubayra, in the vicinity of al-Kufa.

Hisn Batriq حصن بطريق: a town formerly located between Aleppo and al-Raqqa.

Hisn Ziyad حصن زياد : the town of Kharput in Armenia, between Amid and Melitene. Its people moved to the nearby new town of Mamurat al-Aziz.

Hisn Kifa حصن كيفا: a town and a great citadel overlooking the Tigris, between Amid and Jazirat ibn Umar. Once the capital of a branch of the Ayyubid state until the beginning of the sixteenth century, it is now a small village.

Hisn Mansur حصن منصور : a town north of Samosata on the west bank of the Euphrates; also called Adyaman.

Al-Hafar الحَفَر : a village in the province of Hims, an hour’s journey south of Sadad.

Al-Hira الحيرة  an ancient city, three miles from Kufa and east of al-Najaf.

Khabura خابورآء : a large territory containing many towns, extending between Ras Ayn and the Euphrates on the banks of the Khabur in al-Jazira, from which it derived its name. Among its ancient towns are Qarqisiyya, Macine, Majdal, and Arban.

Kharshana: a town near Melitene.

Dara دارا : a town situated at the foot of the mountain between Nisibin and Mardin. Built in 506 A.D., it remained a seat of Syrian bishops until the middle of the twelfth century. Today it is an insignificant village.

Duluk (Doliche) دُلوك: a small town in the province of Aleppo, twelve miles from Samosata.

Dawlo داولو: a small town northwest of Mersin.

Dunaysar دُنَيسر: situated south of Mardin, Dunaysar was a large town in the thirteenth century. Today it is a small village, called Quch Hisar, near Tall al-Arman.

Dayr Habil دير هابيل : a village in the province of Seert, which I do not believe is inhabited.

Dayr Iliyya دير ايليا: a farm south of Mardin, at the foot of the mountain of Mardin. It was named after the prophet Iliyya (Elijah), because of a church in it bearing the name of this prophet. Today it is called Jaftalik in Turkish.

Ras Ayn راس عين : a town located at the source of the river Khabur in the Jazira. It was settled in the thirteenth century, but was laid waste in 1869. It was later resettled by a Circassian tribe, and then by Syrians and Armenians, who built churches in it.

Rudwan رُضوان : a village northeast of Hisn Kifa.

Raban رَعبان : a town between Aleppo and Samosata, near the Euphrates, no longer in existence.

Al-Raqqa الرقّة : the ancient Callinicus, it was a big city near the Euphrates. Today it is a small town, more nearly a village.

Al-Ruha الرُّها : a famous city, five days’ journey eastward from Aleppo, now called Urfa.

Ruhin رُوحين: a village near Antioch.

Romaniya رومانيّة: a village in the Sawar district, populated by Syrians until the end of the sixteenth century.

Zarjal زَرجَل : a large village in al-Bushayriyya, in the province of Diyarbakr.

Sijistan سجستان : a vast territory, ten days’ journey south of Herat.

Sirmin سرمين : a small town in the province of Aleppo.

Saruj سروج : a small town in the Mudar territory, between Harran and Jarabulus.

Seert سعرت : a town south of Bedlis.

Salamiyya سلمية : a town southeast of Hama, toward the desert.

Seleucia (Ctesiphon) سليق وقسطَفون : two connected cities called al-Madalin. They were the capital of the Sassanids, situated about six hours’ journey south of Baghdad. Both these cities were destroyed at the beginning of the Arab conquest. Near their site is the present village of Salman Pak.

Semqa (Semqe) سمقا أو سمقي : a village two hours’ journey northeast of Diyarbakr. It may be the village called Summaqli.

Samando (Simando) سمندو أو سيمندو : a town in central Anatolia.

Samosata سميساط : a town on the Euphrates, north of al-Ruha.

Sinjar سنجار : a town situated at the foot of the Sinjar mountain, three days’ journey from Mosul.

Sozopolis سوزوبليس : a town in Pisidia in Asia Minor, west of Konya, no longer in existence.

Al-Sus السوس : a town in Khuzistan (Ahwaz); the ancient Susa.

Swayrik سويرك : a town in Karkar, about two days’ journey southwest of Diyarbakr. It may be Sibaberk.

Sidos سيدوس : a village in the Manazgird territory.

Al-Salihiyya الصالحية : a village near al-Ruha, established by Abd al-Malik ibn Salih al-Hashimi. Al-Khalidi states that it was near al-Raqqa, near Batyas and the Monastery of Mar Zakka. The first person to build palaces there was the Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi.

Al-Salihiyya الصالحية : a large village which was situated in the Ghuta of Damascus, at the foot of Qasyun Mountain. It has now become part of Damascus.

Sadad صدد : an old, small town southeast of Hims, about one day’s journey from Damascus.

Salahiyya صلاحيّة : a town east of Yarbuz in the Adana province.

Al-Sawar الصور: a town and citadel about one day’s journey northeast from Mardin.

Tur Abdin طور عبدين : a mountain connected with the mountain of Izla, which overlooks Nisibin. The territory of the same name harbors a great number of monasteries and cells, as well as some fifty villages large and small. Two-thirds of the inhabitants of these villages are Syrian Christians; the rest are Muslims and Yezidis. The capital of Tur Abdin is Midyat. Following are the names of the villages mentioned in our book: to the east of Tur Abdin are situated Inhil, Fifyath, Qartamin; to the west are Bati, Habsnas, Salh, Arnas, Aynward, Kafra, Kafarze, Kafrsalta, Kafrshami, and Kandarib; to the north are Alin, Baqisyan, Hah, Hisn Kifa, Dayr Salib, Zaz, and Karburan; to the south are Arbo, Badebba, Basibrina, Baminim, Tamars, Hbab, Sari Awastir, Arban, and Meddo. The ruined villages, and those whose location is unknown, are Halih, Zabdiqa, Kafryab, and Kalasht.

Ana عانة : a town in Iraq, west of the Euphrates and southeast of Dayr al-Zur.

Arban عربان : a town on the west bank of the Khabur River in al-Jazira, opposite al-Ajjaja.

Arqa عرقة: a town, formerly west of Malatya (Melitene); still inhabited.

Irqa عِرقة: a town on the seashore between Raphina and Tripoli, about four leagues from the latter city.

Al-Aqr العَقر : a citadel two days’ journey north of Mosul. It is known as Aqr al-Humaydiyya.

Urbish عُربيش : a big village in Karkar, inhabited by Syrians until recent times.

Ayn Daba عين زربة: a town in the district of Antioch whose location is unknown; birthplace of the learned Jacob of Edessa.

Ayn Zarba (Anazarba) انا زربا : a town in Cilicia, on the river Jihan. Today it is a small village called Anazura.

Farzman فرزمان : an ancient town north of Birijik on the river Farzman, a tributary of the Euphrates called Marziman.

Fayruza فيروزة : a village north of Hims, heavily populated by Syrians.

Philippi فيليبي : an ancient city in the easternmost part of Macedonia; it lay in ruins after the thirteenth century.

Qar Shar (Qir Shar) قار شهر أو قيرشهر: a town southeast of Ankara.
Qaluq قالوق : a town in the province of al-Sawar, populated by Syrians until the middle of the seventeenth century.

Qarqisun (Qarqisya) قرقسيون أو قرقيسياء : a town near the place where the Khabur joins the Euphrates; it no longer exists. On its site lies the village of Abu Saray (Busayra).

Qruntha قرونثا : an ancient town on the east bank of the Tigris, near the Great Zab.

Al-Qaryatayn القريتين : a small town in the province of Hims, about ten days’ journey from there on the way to the desert between Sukhna and Arak.

Qarikara قريكرة : a village in the province of Melitene. Master Saliba Qarikari (d. 1164) is thought to have come from there.

Qusur (al-Kawliyya) القصور أو الكوليّة : a village about two hours’ journey south of Mardin, heavily populated by Syrians.

Qutrubul قُطرُبل : a town on the Tigris, opposite the city of Diyarbakr. Its Syrian population left it in 1928.

Qellith قُلّث: a big village about a day’s journey north from Mardin, heavily populated by Syrians.

Qallat al-Imra’a قلعة المرا: a village north of Mardin, on the way to the Zafaran Monastery.

Qalat al-Rum قلعة الروم : an ancient fortified citadel and town west of the Euphrates, opposite al-Bira. The name of the citadel was Zughma.

Claudia قلوذية : a citadel near Melitene, destroyed and rebuilt by al-Hasan ibn Quhtuba in 141 A.H. Around the citadel was built a town bearing the same name, but it was laid to ruin after the thirteenth century.

Qallisura قليسورا : an ancient town in the vicinity of Melitene.

Qinnesrin قنسرين : a district and a town between Aleppo and Hims; no longer in existence.

Cyzicus قوزيقوس : an ancient city on the Sea of Marmara, destroyed by an earthquake in 943 A.D.

Konya قونية : a city in central Anatolia, south of Ankara.

Qawim قويم : a village in the vicinity of Mardin, inhabited until 1635.

Caesarea قيصريّة أو قيساريّة : a town southeast of Ankara, known today as Qaysar (Caesar).

Karkh Slukh كرخ سلوخ : the present city of Kirkuk, in Iraq.

Karkar (Jarjar) كركر أو جرجر : an ancient citadel and town near Melitene, between Samosata and Hisn Ziyad, west of the Euphrates.

Kabiyya كعبية : a village in the vicinity of Diyarbakr which was populated by Syrians. It was destroyed in World War I.

Kafrtibna كفرتبنا : an ancient village near Harran.

Kafrtut كفرتوث : a town between Dara and Ras Ayn, southwest of Mardin; now only a village.

Kafrhawwar كفر حوّار : a village in the province of Tripoli.

Kafrtab كفر طاب : an ancient town in the Muattasha desert between Maarrat al-Numan and Aleppo.

Killiz (Killis) كلّس ، كلّز : a town in the northern part of the province of Aleppo.

Klaybin كليبين : a village about seven hours’ distance south of Mardin, heavily populated by Syrians in the sixteenth century.

Kandinat كنديناط : a town in the northeastern part of Malabar, in India.

Kaniq كنكي: A village in the province of Nisibin; it is called Qaniq in Syriac.

Qawartam كورتم : a village on the Euphrates, the birthplace of Jacob of Saruj (d. 521).

Kornasha كورنشا : a village in the district of Baarbaya adjacent to the Izla Mountain.

Al-Kufa (Aqula)لكوفة  ا: in southern Iraq; no longer in existence.

Kondar كوندار : perhaps Kandiri, north of Izmid, near the Black Sea.

Kaysum كيسوم : an ancient town in the province of Samosata, between Aleppo and al-Ruha. It also had a citadel.

Kishir كيشير : a village in the province of Antioch, birthplace of the Syriac poet Shimun (Simon) the Potter (514 A.D.).

Laqbin لاقبين : an ancient town in the province of Melitene.

Mayuma مايوما : an ancient port on the Mediterranean, near Gazza.

Majdal مجدَل : an ancient town near the river Khabur, below Ras Ayn. Yaqut al-Hamawi mentions a contemporary poet from this village.

Maragha مراغة : a most famous town of Azerbayjan, south of Tabrlz and east of Lake Urmiya.

Marga (Marj) مرجا أو المرج : a place northeast of Mosul, formerly a big province.

Marash مرعش : the ancient Germanicia, north of Aleppo and south of Sivas.

Mashhad Kuhayl مشهد كُحيل : Yaqut says, “Kuhayl was a big city on the Tigris between the two Zabs, above Takrit, going southwards. Today it is no more.” Kuhayl was the birthplace of the Syrian learned man Moses bar Kifa (d. 903).

Al-Massisa المصيصة : a town on the Jijan, just east of Adana.

Al-Madan المعدن : a town in the vicinity of Sherwan, in the province of Seert; now a village.

Masarte معسرتي : a village six hours’ journey north of Mardin.

Malabar مالابار : a territory in southwest India, on the Indian Ocean; it includes the provinces of Travancore and Cochin.

Malatya (Melitene) مَلَطية : a city in the province of Mamurat al-Aziz, near the Euphrates. In the past it was large and famous. It was one of the largest centers of the Syrians, who in 1049 A.D. had fifty-six churches there. It was also the birthplace of a number of Syrian learned men. Today lt is a small town. (See the biography of Christodolus by Michael, Coptic bishop of Tinnis [d. ca. 1069], in Assemani’s “Confession of the Fathers,” in his Bibliotheca Orientalis, II, 145-152, and in the Coptic Patriarchal Library).

Manazgird منازكرد : now called Manashgird, a town north of Lake Van.

Manbij منبج : once a large town in the northeastern part of the province of Aleppo, three leagues from the Euphrates. Today it is a small town.

Al-Mansuriyya المنصورية : a village northwest of Mardin.

Miyafarqin ميافارقين : once the most famous city in the northeastern part of the province of Diyarbakr, now a small town.

Najran نجران : an ancient city in northeastern Yaman.

Narsibad نرسيباد : perhaps Naryan or al-Nars, or possibly another location, a territory between al-Kufa and Wasit in southern Iraq.

Nisibin نصيبين : a town in the Jazira, five days’ journey from Mosul; today it is a small town. Nisibin is also the name of a village on the west bank of the Euphrates, west of Birijik, formerly known as the Byzantine Nisibin.

Naksar نكسار : a town in Turkey, northeast of Tokat.

Hattakh الهتّاخ : a citadel and a small town north of Miyafarqin, in the Sufniyyin province; popularly called Antakh.

Wank ونك : a village in the province of Karkar, also called Dayr Abu Ghalib.