Orontes River

Watermill in Hama

The Nahr al - Asi (Arabic نهر العاصي, DMG Nahr al- ʿ Asi, Asi Turkish Nehri, antique Orontes, Greek Ορόντης, Frankish Pharphar, according to 2 Kings 5,12 EU ) is a 450 km long river in Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.


In Turkey it is called the river and Marketers akan nehir, which in German means " wrong -flowing river ." Arabic Nahr means "river", al - ʿ ASI " the rebellious, insubordinate " and points to his wild flow. Strabo states in his Geographika that Syrian river Orontes Typhon was called because I had crossed this river Orontes, probably during the war against Evagoras I of Salamis.


He comes from a karst spring in the Bekaa Valley (Lebanon ) north of the city of Baalbek and is fed by the melting waters of the Lebanon and Anti - Lebanon. Its largest tributaries are the Afrin ( Nahr Afrin ) and the Kara Su ( Turkish black water). The catchment area is 23,000 square kilometers. The river carries the most water in March, at the level of Jisr ash- Schugur average of 30 m³ / s are then measured.

The upper reaches of the basin comprises of Homs. The Orontes flows here in a northerly direction through the cities of Homs and Hama in Syria, where several dams allow the irrigation of fertile valleys, including the Zeyzoun Dam. The middle section comprises the plains of Aharna and Ghab. The Ghab level separates the massif of Jebel Ansariye the west by the North Syrian limestone massif in the east. Near the town of Antakya in the Turkish province of Hatay the Orontes changed its flow direction to the west and flows into the Mediterranean Samandağ. There the Orontes flows around seemingly wrong, the optical illusion is caused by the low water and high winds. In ancient times, the underflow was partly navigable.

The river was originally very rich in fish, but is now heavily polluted by industrial effluents below Homs and largely biologically dead (as of 1980). The reservoir of ar - Rastan acts as a sediment trap and increases the water quality again. Through the derivation of many irrigation systems of the lower reaches of the river is heavily salt form. In addition, it often comes to algae blooms.


Until the mid- Tertiary Lebanon Mountains and the Jebel Ansariye made ​​up in the mountains of the province of Hatay a continuous chain of mountains and a watershed for the Orontes and Afrin, both of which drained into the Euphrates to the east. The opening to the Mediterranean in Antakya originated only in the Spätpliozän. The river forms from the Bekaa Valley on the Ghab level, the northern continuation of the Jordan Valley and the northern tip of the African grave breach.


First dams have already been built, according to Strabo, by the Egyptians. The dam at Qattinah, which impounds the lake of Homs, dates from Roman times, but is still in use today. The Orontes is described by Pliny and Strabo.

As a Battle of the Orontes the Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC are between Ramses II and the Hittite king Muwatalli II or the Battle 94 BC between the Seleucid Antiochus XI. and Antiochus X. Eusebes called.

In the Dionysiaca of Nonnus of Panopolis is reported that on the Indienzug of Dionysus there to battle with the Orontes, the son of the Indian king Deriades, comes in the 17th song. In the fight against the god Orontes falls and falls into the river, which is named after him.