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Precious Palmyra

August 26, 2015

Palmyra in Syria on mycustardpie.com

Palmyra in Syria on mycustardpie.comMy camera was old, a sandstorm cloaked the stones; this lends an ethereal nature to these images of ancient city of Palmyra in Syria. It’s hard to evoke the scale of the place which includes temples, a theatre and an extensive burial site with over fifty tombs. While you can wait in the queue for the Colosseum in Rome for over two hours, we shared this once-prosperous city, strategically placed in the middle of the Syrian desert and a vital part of the Roman Empire, with a few hawkers, a handful of camels and a scant bus load of other tourists.

It was a relief to wander undisturbed as we’d been a bit overwhelmed by the eager friendliness of everyone we’d met during our visit, especially in the town adjacent to the ruins. “Where are you from?” was the common refrain and we were thanked profusely for visiting Syria. I wonder where they are now?

Invaders have marched into Palmyra before. Taxes and revenues from the caravans which passed through  fuelled its growth and magnificent projects abounded. Let’s not forget that these riches were built by slaves and their masters’ splendid vision was crafted in toil, blood and death. Success was also its downfall when the powerful rulers of the city, including Queen Zenobia, flexed their muscles against Rome.  The city was raised to the ground by Emperor Aurelian in 273 AD. Luckily he didn’t possess hi-tech explosives.

Countless people have been inspired by the remains of the city: Lady Jane Digby’s grave in Damascus has a piece of its limestone as a tombstone; David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here; Lady Hester Stanhope was a visitor after it was ‘rediscovered’ in the late 17th Century, and many country houses of that time have ‘Palmyra ceilings’ based on the zodiac ceiling in the Temple of Bel. Sadly the name that is foremost in our minds is Khaled al-Asaad who dedicated his life to the preservation and restoration of the site, resulting ultimately in his torture and death at the hands of those who exceed the brutality of the past in their actions.

Palmyra in Syria on mycustardpie.comIt seems that man hasn’t changed. Only the weapons have become more sophisticated.

31 Comments
  1. August 26, 2015 11:29 am

    Just so sad, some days you just lose a bit more faith in humanity

  2. August 26, 2015 11:33 am

    So pleased you wrote this post and to see your photos. Wonderful for you to have gone there; so tragic and horrendous what’s happening now to the place and its people.

  3. August 26, 2015 12:02 pm

    So glad you got to go there Sally. The world is a poorer place when such mindless destruction rules.

  4. August 26, 2015 12:06 pm

    Beautiful! A place great historical background…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  5. August 26, 2015 12:15 pm

    We forget how much goes on around us – what a lovely post Sally. Glad u shared it

  6. Razena | tantalisemytastebuds permalink
    August 26, 2015 12:22 pm

    Reading this and your previous post ‘Three days in Syria’ brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  7. August 26, 2015 12:35 pm

    Such a wonderful account Sally. My heart is saddened beyond words that such historic heritage (UNESCO heritage sight) got blown away and there was nothing that could be done. Last month, I was visiting the UK and saw the ‘Palmyra ceiling in the Warwick Castle. I have always wanted to visit Palmyra… sigh. Some wishes remain wishes.

  8. The Real Geordie Armani permalink
    August 26, 2015 12:36 pm

    Thanks for sharing, lovely photographs, its sad the way the world is changing,

  9. August 26, 2015 12:51 pm

    A touching tribute Sally, to Palmyra, it’s people and the now lost history.

  10. August 26, 2015 12:58 pm

    Even though I have never been there, this touches me deep in my heart. When you appreciate history, and value it, crimes like this cut right through you.
    Thank you for posting this, as always you have my greatest respect because you don’t only think happy – happy joy – you food and nothing else, you care about what is actually going on this world and dare to write about it. Today, I have lost all my patience and understanding of all people here in Belgium who dare to agree with these isis animals.

  11. August 26, 2015 1:52 pm

    Your images are turkey beautiful Sally. You ve given a wonderful account of the place. It’s truly tragic the destruction these people are imposing on our civilization. True evil.

  12. August 26, 2015 2:23 pm

    COOL! It looks like an old world! Oh wow, did it feel terribly like you were in The Mummy trilogy at any point? 🙂

  13. August 26, 2015 2:34 pm

    It’s so brutal and senseless too what has happened in Syria. My friend used to fly into Damascus for British Airways and only has the most wonderful things to say about the hospitality of the people and the beauty of the country, So sad.

  14. August 26, 2015 3:25 pm

    Words fail me to describe how I feel about the murder and destruction that has been perpetrated in Palmyra. I cannot imagine how Syrians feel. How fortunate that you got to see this – and thank you for posting a beautiful, important, evocative and thought-provoking post.

  15. August 26, 2015 3:36 pm

    This makes me immeasurably sad, Sally. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and photos. My heart is heavy for what we have lost and are losing.

  16. August 26, 2015 4:53 pm

    Man is really a horrid thing! Thank you for sharing such beautiful photo’s with your post Sally.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  17. August 26, 2015 10:25 pm

    Thank you for sharing this – it feels sad to see what is happening to the world. It’s so so brutal and insensitive.

  18. August 27, 2015 4:19 am

    Wow great pics! Any news on how the site is fairing these days?

  19. August 27, 2015 11:10 am

    Mankind, eh. We can create such beauty, and then for the most bizarre of reasons destroy it.

  20. August 27, 2015 11:17 am

    Beautiful, touching, monstruous… 😦

  21. August 27, 2015 12:31 pm

    I had no idea how magnificent was Palmyra….however, in my mind the brutality to people eclipses the damage to histories fabric…the history that is currently in production fits perfectly into the tradition of human brutality through the ages..desperate…

  22. August 27, 2015 12:32 pm

    ..should read “history’s fabric”….!

  23. glamorous glutton permalink
    August 27, 2015 2:03 pm

    Palmyra looks stunning, it’s so sad to think of it being destroyed and there seems to be nothing that can be done to stop it. I don’t understand people destroying such amazing historical sites. What does it ultimately achieve? GG

  24. August 27, 2015 9:58 pm

    This is so utterly heart-breaking, all of the destruction of history and human lives. What a privilege it must really feel now that you were able to see it – and experience Syrian hospitality – before this horrendous catastrophe. I can’t believe it is gone. And that poor Professor Khaled al-Asaad has died with it.

  25. August 28, 2015 11:23 am

    what a gorgeous place with those beautiful ruins – and what a terribly sad story that accompanies it

  26. ramblingtart permalink
    August 30, 2015 12:36 pm

    So glad you shared the beauties of this place and the kindness of the people you met. Aching for the devastation and loss they’ve been experiencing.

  27. September 7, 2015 7:28 pm

    These photos are so special, thanks for sharing. I’ve just included your post in a Blog Love post on my blog http://www.athomewithmrsm.com/2015/09/blog-love.html

  28. September 9, 2015 1:11 am

    Thank you for sharing this, Sally. Heartbreaking.

  29. arencejean permalink
    September 20, 2015 9:05 pm

    Oh my, you’re so lucky to have been able to visit Palmyra! My wife and I had been wanting to go there for the longest time – sadly, Palmyra has to wait and survive hopefully. Really praying hard for that.

  30. September 26, 2015 1:23 am

    Thank you for sharing this, I’m going to mention this article to my readers in Friday Newsletter.

  31. October 6, 2015 12:17 am

    Thank you for sharing this lovely post! I thoroughly enjoyed it! 🙂

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