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Hauran, also Hawran or Houran, (Arabic: حوران, Ḥaurān) is a volcanic plateau, a geographic area and a people located in southwestern Syria and extending into the northwestern corner of modern-day Jordan. It gets its name from the aramic Hawran, meaning "cave land." In geographic and geomorphic terms, its boundaries generally extends from near Damascus and Mt. Hermon in the north to the Ajloun mountains of Jordan in the south. The area includes the occupied Golan Heights on the west and is bounded there by the Jordan Rift Valley; it also includes Jabal ad-Duruz in the east and is bounded there by more arid steppe and desert terrains. The Yarmouk River drains much of the Hauran to the west and is the largest tributary of the Jordan River.
The Hauran is mentioned in the Bible (Ezekiel 47:16-18) describing the boundary area of the Israelite Kingdom at the time. Centuries later, the Romans referred to the area as Auranitis, and it marked the traditional eastern border of Roman Syria; this is evidenced by the well-preserved Roman ruins in the cities of Bosra and Shahba. At the time, the Hauran also included the northern cities of the Decapolis. Today, the Hauran is not a distinct political entity, but encompasses the Syrian governorates of Quneitra, As Suwayda, and Daraa, and the Jordanian governorate of Irbid. However, the name is used colloquially by both the inhabitants of the region (Hauranis) and outsiders, to refer to the area and its people.
The volcanic soils of Hauran make it one of the most fertile regions in Syria; it produces considerable wheat and is particularly famous for its vineyards. The region receives above-average annual precipitation, but the region includes few developable rivers. Historically, the region has relied on annual snow and rain during winter and spring and many of the ancient sites contain cisterns and water storage facilities to better utilize the seasonal rainfall. This area is unlike other historical fertile areas of Syria, (the Orontes and the Euphrates river valleys), which rely on developed irrigation systems for their farming productivity. Since the mid 1980s, Syria has developed a considerable number of seasonal storage dams within the headwaters of the Yarmouk River drainage basin.
This link captures the sound of the Hourani (Haurani) dialect [lahjat al Hawarneh] http://www.neurosurgery.tv/10march2008.html
In 636 AD the Battle of Yarmouk (named after River Yarmouk) took place between Byzantium and the advancing Muslim armies.
In 1516 the Ottoman armies swept through Bilad al-Sham. On August 24, 1516 CE (AD) the Mamluk armies were defeated in Marj Dabeg, near Aleppo and the Ottoman Sultan Selim I entered the city on August 28. Damascus fell on September 27 of the same year and then Houran followed. It remained under Ottoman control until their defeat in World War I (1914-1918).
Swiss traveller Johann Ludwig Burckhardt noted his observation of people from the region:
My companions intending to leave Damascus very early the next morning, I quitted my lodgings in the evening, and went with them to sleep in a small Khan in the suburb of Damascus, at which the Haouaerne, or people of Haouran, generally alight.
- Dir albukhat
- ↑ http://www.transboundarywaters.orst.edu/projects/casestudies/jordan_river.html Jordan River: Johnston negotiations, 1953-55; Yarmuk mediations, 1980's
- ↑ Travels in Syria and the Holy Land: Journal of an Excursion into the Haouran in the Autumn and Winter of 1810