Al Raqqa History
Al Raqqa, is said to be founded by Alexander the Great of Macedonia, although many say that it might be Seleucus Nicator, Alexander's famous general. It was settled by the Romans and was given the name Callincium.
In the Byzantine era it was considered a very important town, as it was on the border between Byzantium and Persia. It fell into Muslim hands in 639 AD and the Umayyads built two palaces there under Caliph Hisham Bin Abdul Malik. However nothing remains of these palaces.
The Abbassids rebuilt Al Raqqa 10 years after Baghdad, it was considered a second capital and was built by Caliph Mansour in the same horseshoe plan as that of Baghdad. It was surrounded by a semi-circular wall, which was extremely thick and was guarded by many towers. Nearly half a century later Caliph Haroun Al Rashid built a second and newer Raqqa next to the old one as a sort of companion. It soon was integrated into the older one.
Under the Ayyubids and the Zengids, the town of Al Raqqa remained of great importance as they had strong links with the Northern Mesopotamian city of Mosul. It became famous in the 12th century for glazed ceramic industry, which was started by Saladin the Ayyubid leader.
In 1258 it was ransacked by the Mongols, and for a long time Al Raqqa was abandoned to sit quietly on the shores of the Euphrates. In 1960, Al Raqqa regained its important role with the building of Al Thawra Dam and the Assad reservoir. Al Thawra Dam generates a large percentage of Syria's electricity.