Coordinates: 33°30′48.75″N 36°18′18″E / 33.5135417°N 36.30500°E / 33.5135417; 36.30500
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Arabic: بَرَدَىٰ
Barada river in Damascus near the Four Seasons Hotel. The water level is uncharacteristically high in this view from the spring of 2009.
EtymologyFrom barid, meaning 'cold' in Semitic languages
Country Syria

Barada (Arabic: بَرَدَىٰ / ALA-LC: Baradā) is the main river of Damascus, the capital city of Syria.


Barada river near the Citadel of Damascus, 2006

"Barada" is thought to be derived from the word barid, which means "cold" in Semitic languages.[1] The ancient Greek name (Greek: Χρυσορρόας, romanizedChrysorrhoas), means "streaming with gold".[2]

Topography and source[edit]

Throughout the arid plateau region east of Damascus, oases, streams, and a few minor rivers that empty into swamps and small lakes provide water for local irrigation. Most important of these is the Barada, a river that rises in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains and disappears into the desert. The Barada flows out of the karst spring of Ain al-Fijah, about 27 kilometres (17 mi) north west of Damascus in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains, but its true source is Lake Barada, a small lake that is also a karst spring located about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Zabadani. The Barada descends through a steep, narrow gorge named "Rabwe" before it arrives at Damascus, where it divides into seven branches that irrigate the Al Ghutah (الغوطة) oasis, the location of Damascus. Eventually the Ghouta reached a size of 370 square kilometers, although in the 1980s, urban growth started replacing agricultural use with housing and industry.[3] The river has also suffered from severe drought in the last decades, mainly due to the lower rainfall rates and the large increase in the population in the area.[4] It also suffers from serious pollution problems, especially in the summer, where there is almost no flow and little water in the basin.

Biblical mention[edit]

Barada is identified as Abana (or Amanah, in Qere and Ketiv variation in Tanakh and classical Chrysorrhoas) which is the more important of the two rivers of Damascus, Syria and was mentioned in the Book of Kings (2 Kings 5:12). As the Barada rises in the Anti-Libanus, and escapes from the mountains through a narrow gorge, its waters debouch fan-like, in canals or rivers, the name of one of which, the Banias river, retains a trace of Abana.[5]

John MacGregor, who gives a description of them in his book Rob Roy on the Jordan, affirmed that as a work of hydraulic engineering, the system and construction of the canals, by which the Abana and Pharpar were used for irrigation, might be considered as one of the most complete and extensive in the world. In the Bible, Naaman exclaims that the Abana and Pharpar are greater than all the waters of Israel.[5]


Barada's water branches at Hameh village and the gorge of Rabweh into six distributaries or canals, two of which, Yazid and Tora, branch off the northern bank, while the remaining four, Mezzawi, Derani, Qanawat, and Banias, are formed from the southern bank.[6]

The Yazid canal runs north to the districts of Salihya and Qabun; Tora, the oldest of all, passes through Al-Jisr Al-Abyad distrct, heading to Jobar and Harasta; Mezzawi tears through Mezzeh; Derani runs towards Darya; Banias runs by the National Museum north of the Citadel and reaches Bab Touma; and, finally, the Qanawat canal pours into the southern quarters of the old city following Via Recta.[7]

Outside the city of Damascus, the water gathers to pour into River Qleit which runs to Eastern Ghouta.[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rihani, Ameen (2016). The Book of Khalid: A Critical Edition. Syracuse University Press. p. 455. ISBN 978-0815653325.
  2. ^ Kraeling, Emil G. H. (2008). Aram and Israel: The Aramaeans in Syria and Mesopotamia. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 46. ISBN 978-1606083949.
  3. ^ Collelo, Thomas, ed. (1988). "Land, Water, and Climate". Syria: a country study. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. LCCN 87600488. Note: text doesn't have permanent URL. Click "Land, Water, and Climate" at link.
  4. ^ "الحياة - النظام في وادي بردى: النهب المستمر... تعفيش وتحريق وتنحيس". Archived from the original on 2017-05-13.
  5. ^ a b Chisholm 1911, p. 6.
  6. ^ Damascus, Born In (2016-02-07). "Born In Damascus: The River Barada". Born In Damascus. Retrieved 2023-03-06.
  7. ^ a b دمشق فيضان نهر برطى عام 1970 ساحة المرجا وفكتوريا. منتديات المدني.

External links and further reading[edit]

33°30′48.75″N 36°18′18″E / 33.5135417°N 36.30500°E / 33.5135417; 36.30500