"GAZA (arab. Ghazza), city in Syria, on the road leading to Egypt, between the Mediterranean and the desert, about 4 km (2.5 miles) from the sea. Population about 15 000. Important entrepôt for caravan traffic between Egypt and Syria.
Gaza has few remains of antiquity. The only building worthy of interest is a mosque, formerly a Catholic church, which is assumed to have been built by the Empress Helena. The old city of Gaza, which is thought to have been closer to the sea, is known in the Bible as the northernmost of the five confederate cities of the Philistines. It was given to the tribe of Judah, which took it and then lost it.
Having become a possession of Persia, it was taken by Alexander the Great after a stubborn siege (332 BC.). Constantine made it a cathedral town under the name of Constantia. The Arabs took it in 634, two years after the death of Muhammad. The Crusaders seized it in 1100; Saladin took it from them. In 1799, it was taken by the French commanded by Kléber."
Extract from the Trousset encyclopedia, 1886 – 1891.
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