The Dead Cities are a group of 700 abandoned settlements in northwest Syria. Around 40 villages reflect the rural life in Late Antiquity and during the Byzantine period. Most villages which date from the 1st to 7th centuries, became abandoned between the 8th and 10th centuries as the area had been conquered by the Arabs and this meant that trade routes shifted. Warfare did not do for these incredible settlements but economics. The population declined and dwindled to the point that the cities were eventually deserted.
The settlements feature the well-preserved architectural remains of dwellings, pagan temples, churches, cisterns, bathhouses etc.