Tuesday, August 7, 2007


If you thought Palmyra was just a place famous in Mormon history in upstate New York, you are not only uninformed, you're also uncultured. I went on a weekend trip to Tadmur this last week and was able to see one of the largest standing ancient cities in the world. It was mentioned in the old testament as having been built by King Solomon, and successively passed from Greeks to Persians to Romans as a major city on the silk road from China. When Queen Zenobia of Palmyra decided to create an idependant state and sent armies as far away as Palestine and Egypt rome decided they had had enough and captured her, whereupon the city rebelled, and was consequently razed to the ground by the Roman Army. If what is standing today is only the remnants of what used to be there it must have been quite an impressive city. There are hundreds of columns still standing over a huge area, hundreds of arches, you can't kick the dirt without unearthing a column, peice of a statue, or pottery shards, and intricately carved column heads lie around the city fields and sides of the road like so much rubbish. It didn't take me more than a few minutes and the right questions in the Tadmur (Arabic name of the city) market before merchants started taking out their hidden caches of "illegal" artifacts that they apparently go out and dig up at night. Of course their concept of their worth is inflated past the bounds of reality, although I bargained a small glass "tear catcher" bottle from $600 to $30, my meager stipend still doesn't allow me those kinds of extras. One of the other impressive sites in Tadmur are the above and below-ground tombs that keep being discovered by the dozen every year (a few years ago they were putting in another natural gas line and happened upon 30 new tombs). They are large and ornate and most of them haven't been touched for 4k years. We got special permission to visit one of the tombs that is off the tourist track that had a fully stone door that we pushed open and creaked and let out a bunch of dust and really made us feel like indy's.


شيخ الحب said...

Trent, it's Nathanael. Where did you find that picture of Palmyra, it's mine! I took it. It's on my picture website online so I'm wondering if you found it there or if someone has stolen it.

شيخ الحب said...

By the way I mean the one with the camel.