[key], city, capital of Ar Raqqah governorate, N Syria, on the Euphrates River. Carpets are
manufactured, and the city has an agricultural experimental station. The ancient Nicephorium,
Ar Raqqah was prominent during the early Abbasid caliphate. Caliph Harun
ar-Rashid built a summer palace there and used the town as military headquarters
against Byzantium. Ar Raqqah was destroyed by the Mongols in the early 13th cent.; some ruins
remain. In the Syrian civil war that began in 2011 the city was taken by rebels in 2013. From
2014 to 2017 it was the headquarters of the Islamic State, which destroyed Shiite mosques and Christian churches there;
widespread devastation resulted from the fight to retake the city. The modern name also
appears as Raqqa and Rakka.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Syrian Political Geography