Efqa Spring and oasis
Palmyra was one of the most important cities in the Middle East. The founding and growth of the city can all be directly related to one important factor, the immediate availability of water from the Efqa Spring.
The Efqa Spring, accessible via a cave entrance next to the Cham Palace hotel, supplied the city of Palmyra and the oasis with enough water for agriculture and livestock. Efqa is Aramaean for “source”, an apt name for the spring that became the source of Palmyra’s power. Because of its vital importance to the city, it also became a place of worship to the Palmyrene gods. Yarhibol was worshiped as the guardian of the spring. There is no evidence of how the inhabitants of Palmyra worshiped their gods but we know for certain that the spring was a place of worship because of various inscriptions found all over Palmyra. For example, in the second century, Bolana, the guardian of the spring, inscribed a dedication to Yarhibol, the “idol of the spring”. Some inscriptions also make mention of Zeus, which implies that the Greek god of the Earth was also worshiped at the spring.
The water of the spring was pleasantly warm at a temperature of 33 degrees. It was therefore a popular place for the people of Palmyra to bathe. Unfortunately, the spring dried up in the 1990s.