1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Abana

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For works with similar titles, see Abana.

ABANA (or Amanah, classical Chrysorrhoas) and PHARPAR, the “rivers of Damascus” (2 Kings v. 12), now generally identified with the Barada (i.e. “cold”) and the Aʽwaj (i.e. “crooked”) respectively, though if the reference to Damascus be limited to the city, as in the Arabic version of the Old Testament, Pharpar would be the modern Taura. Both streams run from west to east across the plain of Damascus, which owes to them much of its fertility, and lose themselves in marshes, or lakes, as they are called, on the borders of the great Arabian desert. John M‘Gregor, who gives an interesting description of them in his Rob Roy on the Jordan, affirmed that as a work of hydraulic engineering, the system and construction of the canals, by which the Abana and Pharpar were used for irrigation, might be considered as one of the most complete and extensive in the world. As the Barada escapes from the mountains through a narrow gorge, its waters spread out fan-like, in canals or “rivers,” the name of one of which, Nahr Banias, retains a trace of Abana.