A leading city of
N Syria, on the caravan route between the Euphrates and
the Mediterranean, Beroea was made a Macedonian city
by Seleucus Nicator between 301 and 281 B.C. It was
sacked by Chosroes in A.D. 540.
The plan of the Macedonian colony survives in the
modern city. Traces of the original grid plan can be seen
on the 25 ha area E of the tell: a series of streets, parallel or at right angles to each other, are oriented to the
cardinal points and laid out with uniform space between
them. An avenue 20-25 m wide, now occupied by souks,
cut across the city from W to E, from the W gate to the
foot of the citadel, and a monumental three-bay arch
ornamented with military emblems marked the W exit.
Colonnaded porticos were added to the arch probably
in the 2d or 3d c. A.D. The agora was precisely in the
center of the city, where the great mosque stands today,
at the end of the aqueduct that pipes water from a spring
13 km to the N.
The wall that ringed the ancient city forms a more or
less regular rectangle, 1000 by 950 m. On the W the
rampart, flanked by wide rectangular towers, ran parallel
to the streets; its E face took advantage of the hill of
the citadel, which bears no traces of either the Hellenistic
or the Roman periods. The mediaeval gates are probably
where the ancient gates stood.
J. Sauvaget, Alep