Hama (Arabic: حماة Ḥamāh, Hamāh Biblical Ḥamāth, ("Fortress") 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 ( /ˈheɪ.mʌθ/).
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. The city was raided by the Syrian Army, beginning with the 1964 Islamic uprising, and becoming the scene of carnage during the Islamic uprising in Syria in April 1981 and especially in 1982, when some 25,000 people were killed in what became known as Hama massacre. The city was once again besieged by the Syrian military, as one of the main arenas of the 2011 uprising.