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Ain Dara

Situated 40 Km northwest of Aleppo is Ain Dara. Its main interest lies in the Neo-Hittite period at the beginning of the first millennium BC when Ain Dara was one of the fragmented principalities established following the Sea Peoples invasion of the Levant.

The eclectic nature of the Neo-Hititie period is reflected in the temple which is the main point of interest on the mound. It dates from the 10th or 9th centuries BC and continues several traditions from Bronze Age Syria and turkey though its layout is simpler than the contemporary temple at Tell Halaf (5050 - 4300 BC, an archaeological site of ancient Mesopotamia, on the headwaters of the Khābur River near modern Ras al-Ayn, northeastern Syria).

Ain Dara Syria It is believed to be devoted to the goddess Ishtar, who is the Semitic goddess of fertility. The entrance of the temple is flanked with two carved lions in basalt stones. The temple's strange 1m long footprints are carved into the paving of the entrance as if left by some giant visitor. In fact, this is thought to be proof that the goddess had honored the temple by actually visiting it.

There is no trace of Roman or Byzantine occupation of the temple, but it is known that this site fell into the Greek hands under the Seleucid Empire, and at last was occupied by the Umayyads.