A full view of Shmemis (spring 1995)
A view of Shmemis castle at sunset
Shmemis (Arabic: قلعة شميميس) also ash-Shmemis, ash-Shmamis) is a castle located 5 km north west of Salamiyah and 30 km south east from Hama.
The castle (Qalat Shmamis) was first built, on top of an extinct volcano, in the 1st century BC by Sampsiceramus I, the first Priest King of the Royal family of Emesa. Most of the original structure was subsequently destroyed by an earthquake. It was later destroyed by the Persian king Khosrau II in AD 613. It was rebuilt in AD 1229 by Assad ud-Din Shirkoh, an Ayyubid governor of Homs. However, the Mongols destroyed it in 1260 and then by the Tatars in 1401. It was rebuilt after the expulsion of the Mongols and Tatars from Syria. The castle today is in ruins with only walls partially preserved.