The port of Antioch, St Symeon, stands on the mouth of the Orontes, around 27 km away. The walls, built in the time of the Emporer Justinin, were about 12 km long and were strengthened by around 360 towers. Antioch lies on the eastern bank of the Orontes river, although its walls only touched the stream at the Bridge Gate. From the river, the ground rises steeply to a high point of over 500 m at Mount Silpius. From this high point the city's occupants could look out over the whole valley below. The eastern side of the city, which lies along rugged and inhospitable mountain spurs, forms its backbone  About 700 m north of Mount Silpius stood the Citadel. The northern wall was a double wall. The southern wall was built on a deep gully which made it almost unapproachable.

There were four gates, in the North the St Paul Gate, annd in the South the St George Gate. In the west, facing the river, lay the Dog Gate, the Gate of the Duke, and the Bridge Gate. To the east, the Iron Gate surmounted the Parmenian Torrent which flowed through Antioch and exited at the Dog Gate.

By the time of the First Crusade, Antioch had become greatly depopulated.

Antioch was occupied by the Turks, under the command of Sulayman, in 1085. Upon Sulayman's death shortly afterwards, Malik Shah took possession.


Copyright 1999 Tomas J Rees. All rights reserved.