Hama is a city on the banks of the Orontes River in west-central Syria. It is located 213 kilometres (132 mi) north of Damascus and 46 kilometres (29 mi) north of Homs. It is the provincial capital of the Hama Governorate. With a population of 698,928 (2011 census), Hama is the fourth-largest city in Syria after Aleppo, Damascus and Homs. The modern city is built on the site of the ancient city of Hamath ( /he.m/). The city is renowned for its seventeen norias used for watering the gardens, which are locally claimed to date back to 1100 BC. Though historically used for purpose of irrigation, the norias exist today as an almost entirely aesthetic traditional show. In the last decades, the city of Hama has become known as a center of the anti-Ba'ath opposition in Syria, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood.
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