Syria Palmyra 2001.04.26 - 04.27


Called Tadmor by the locals, Palmyra is considered the best site in Syria. This extensively excavated Greek, then Roman, caravan city is on an oasis in the middle of the desert. The closest river is the Orontes 150km north, but the oasis is lush and continues to support a new town with a population of 40,000.

We arrived from Hama by bus with a transfer in Homs. For 2 hours between Homs and Palmyra, the land was a vast desert of tan and orange rock and sand. The only dwellings were occasional nomad tents.

There is no admission fee to see most of Palmyra. After choosing a hotel in the new town, we walked through Palmyra in the late afternoon. Only a handful of tourists were around. Locals selling beverages and fake antiques weren't persistent when we said, "La, Shukuran" (no thank you). It was an enjoyable and relaxing stroll through some fabulous ruins. As the sun began to set, we climbed a hill that overlooked Palmyra and watched the city glow golden in the diminishing rays.

A man walks his camel (for tourists to ride) past the tetrapylon, a structure that marks the junction of two crossroads.

The colonnaded street as viewed from the top of the theater. Although a large area has been excavated and reconstructed, still 90% of the city is in ruins.

In the hills beyond the ancient city are funerary temples. The entrances are sealed with rock or metal gates.

Looking down upon the ancient city of Palmyra during sunset. The immense greenery of the oasis spans behind the city.

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