Coloured bus in Sweida, Syria
As Suwayda (also Sweida; Arabic: السويداء) is a mainly Druze town located in southwestern Syria, close to the border with Jordan.
The inhabitants of the town are mainly Druze with a prominent Greek orthodox minority, The population of the town is estimated at 200,324 (2008).
The town was founded by the Nabataeans as Suada, afterwards it was called Dionysias during Hellenistic and Roman times, for Dionysus the god of wine - the town is situated in a famous ancient wine-producing region.
As Suwayda has some archeological excavations of the ancient Nabataean, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine times, most notably the town’s Hellenistic agora, and the remnants of a big Byzantine church from the 6th century most probably the Church of Saint Sergius. The town has also many Roman time old houses that are still inhabited by locals, a conical pond, and a Roman amphitheatre still to be uncovered.