ABOUT SYRIA - PALMYRA
One of the greatest cities of antiquity; it is situated in the. Syrian desert,
halfway between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates. Sometimes called the Queen
of the Desert, this
oasis city was the stopping place for the many caravans en route to the Arabian
Peninsula and beyond.
The Bedouin settlement of Tadmor (the ancient Semitic name for Palmyra --a Greek
name given to the ancient city, meaning City of the Palms, during the 1st Century
B.C.) is adjacent to the Greco-Roman ruins. The dark green foliage of the dense
palm groves is a startling contrast to the monotones of the desert; in spring,
the pomegranate flowers blaze scarlet amidst the silver-green of the olive trees.
Most of Tadmor's residents wear traditional dress. The women wear either satiny
robes in emerald, gold and magenta hues or the more customary black shed or embroidered
with regional designs. A visit to the souq (market) will introduce you to the
wonderful and colorful fabrics and kilim rugs attractively displayed.
Depending on how much you want to see, one or two days will be needed to cover
the site which requires a lot of walking. It is not recommended to wander during
the heat of the day ( 1 to 4 pm -- time when the locals sensibly have lunch and
take their siesta) and be sure to carry a large bottle of water, and wear a hat.
The best time to arrive to the ancient ruins is 3 hours before sunset. The setting
sun over the city viewed from the vantage point of Qalaat Ibn Maan is magnificent
and a site not to be missed. One of the higWights of the visit is the Temple of
Bel. It is a 200 meter square enclosure with a double row of columns, the second
row in the Corinthian style, running on all sides. The dazzling sunlight reflected
from the limestone ruins, combined with the size of the
temple, can be overwhelming. Another higWight is the 1.2 km colonnaded street
and monumental arch joining the Temple of Bel with the Temple ofNebo, the Senate-House,
the Amphitheater, the Tetrapylon, the Funeral Temple and the Temple of Baalshamin.
The Palmyra Desert F estival is held in early May, during that time hotel rooms
are sometimes difficult to get we suggest booking well in advance.