Antioch, (Turkish: Antakya), an ancient Syrian city, now in southern Turkey. It is on the Orontes River about 18 miles (29 km) from the Mediterranean coast. Its location at the crossroads of ancient trade routes from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean and from western Arabia to Asia Minor made Antioch a great commercial center. In the Roman era it rivaled Alexandria in importance.
The city was build about 300 B.C. by Seleucus I, founder of an empire centering in Syria, which at first included much of the Asian empire of Alexander the Great. Antioch, named for the founder's father, served as western capital. Its seaport was Seleucia Pieria, near the mouth of the Orontes. As the empire shrank in size, Antioch became the Seleucid capital, with splendid temples, palaces, and theaters. Under Antiochus IV (reigned 175-163 B.C.), who created parks, boulevards, and gardens, Antioch became famed for its beauty, wealth, and culture.
The Romans erected magnificent buildings. Antioch became the seat of a patriarchate in the early Christian Church. Its population in the fourth century was estimated at 200,000, probably not including slaves. The area was subject to earthquakes, and a severe one in 526 destroyed much of the city.
Antioch was taken by the Persians in 538 and by the Arabs in 637. The Byzantine Empire recovered it in the 10th century bu lost it to the Seljuk Turks in 1085. Christian forces captured it in 1098 during the First Crusade, and for almost two centuries it was a powerful Latin (Crusader) principality. Antioch fell to Egypt in 1268 and to the Ottoman Empire in 1516.