Ariqah or ‘Arīqah (Arabic: عريقة) is a village in southern Syria with a population of about 3,000. It is located in the heart of the rocky volcanic plateau of Lejah (also called Lajat). Administratively Ariqah is situated in the Mantiqat Shahba (Shahba district) of As Suwayda Governorate. Ariqah is known for its volcanic cave which is located in a 10 meters deep hollow in the centre of the village. This cave is known as Ariqa Cave which extends from 2 to 3 kilometers in the old lava streams, it is the biggest known cave in southern Syria.


Shrine of Ammar bin Yasser in Ariqah
Location in Syria
Coordinates: 32°53′20″N 36°29′00″E
Grid position288/255
Country Syria
GovernorateAs Suwayda Governorate
DistrictShahba District
800 m (2,600 ft)
 (2008 est.)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
  Summer (DST)+3


Historically ‘Arīqah was considered the centre of the inaccessible Lajat, many houses from the Byzantine epoch were found in the town and they are still inhabited by locals, there is also an old ruined Byzantine monastery in the town known as "Deir Ariqa".

Ottoman era

In 1596 Al-Ariqah appeared in the Ottoman tax registers as 'Ahiri and was part of the nahiya of Bani Abdullah in the Sanjak Hauran. It had an entirely Muslim population consisting of 18 households and 3 bachelors. The villagers paid a fixed tax rate of 25% on wheat, barley, summer crops, goats and/or beehives and a water mill; a total of 6,500 akçe.[1]

In 1838, it was noted as Ahiry, a Druze and Catholic village, situated "in the Lejah, south of Dama".[2]


  1. Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 215.
  2. Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, 2nd appendix, p. 156


  • Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter; Abdulfattah, Kamal (1977). Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. ISBN 3-920405-41-2.
  • Robinson, E.; Smith, E. (1841). Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea: A Journal of Travels in the year 1838. 3. Boston: Crocker & Brewster.

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