Sahwat al-Khudr

Sahwat al-Khudr
سهوة الخضر
Sahwat al-Khudr
Coordinates: 32°36′8″N 36°42′27″E / 32.60222°N 36.70750°E / 32.60222; 36.70750
Country  Syria
Governorate Suwayda
District Suwayda
Subdistrict Suwayda
Population (2004 census)
  Total 3,625
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)

Sahwat al-Khudr (Arabic: سهوة الخضر; also spelled Sahwat al-Khidr or Sahwet el-Khodar) is a village in southern Syria, administratively part of the al-Suwayda District of the al-Suwayda Governorate, located south of al-Suwayda. In the 2004 census, it had a population of 3,625.[1] The village is named after a Byzantine-era church named dedicated to Saint George (known by local Muslims as "al-Khudr"). It was resettled by Druze in the mid-19th century after a period of abandonment.


Sahwat al-Khudr receives its name from an ancient Byzantine church dedicated to Saint George, who is identified with "al-Khudr" by Muslims. An inscription on a monument in the church dates back to 306 CE.[2]

In 1596 it appeared in the Ottoman tax registers under the name of Sahut al-Qamh, located in the Nahiya of Bani Nasiyya of the Qada of Hawran. The population was 142 households and 54 bachelors, all Muslim. They paid a fixed tax-rate of 40 % on agricultural products, including wheat, barley, summer crops, vineyards, goats and beehives; in addition to occasional revenues and a water mill; a total of 31,300 Akçe.[3]

Sahwat al-Khudr had been abandoned for a time, but was settled by Druze between 1857 and 1860 at the encouragement of Ismail al-Atrash, a prominent Druze sheikh (chieftain) in the Hauran.[4] In the mid-19th-century, Albert Socin, a European orientalist noted that Sahwat al-Khudr was "a dilapidated town with a castle and a church" surrounded by a forested area. The shrine of al-Khudr in the village was revered by all the religious sects of the vicinity.[5]

In the late 1960s, French geographer Robert Boulanger described Sahwat al-Khudr as "a very picturesque place" with an old mosque that was formerly a pagan temple in Antiquity.[6] The mosque's prayer room contained a column with Nabataean inscriptions.[6] The people of the village slaughtered sheep outside of the mosque annually.[6]


Nearby localities include Salah to the northeast, Miyamas to the north, Hubran to the northwest, Salkhad to the southwest and Orman to the south.


  1. "General Census of Population 2004.". Retrieved 2014-07-10.
  2. Porter, 1868, pp. 488-9
  3. Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 210
  4. Firro, 1992, p. 189
  5. Socin, Albert (1876). Baedeker, Karl, ed. Palestine and Syria: Handbook for Travellers. Karl Baedeker. p. 412.
  6. 1 2 3 Boulanger, Robert (1966). The Middle East, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran. Hachette.


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