November 8th, 2010
In September of this year I travelled to Jordan and after completing my road trip criscrossing the country as much as possibile I decided to cross the border with Syria.
My plan for as much as I had a concrete travel plan was to start in the south and travel northwards untill I reaching Hims and lateron Hamah, settlements which both lie in the northwestern half of Syria.
From Hamah I would travel into the heart of Syria with my final travel destination being the beautiful city of Palmyra. To finish up I would return to the south to Damascus, the capital city of Syria.
After landing in Damascus and having visited the city I started travelling to Maaloula, a pittoresque town built in the mountains which is known for its monasteries and religious sites. The most important two are the Mar Sarkis monastery and the Mar Thecla monaster, both situated in Maaloula but representing different religions. While the first is a catholic one the second is greek orthodox.
From Maaloula I continued my trip in northern direction to Hims, also called Homs, and Hama. Especially the narrow streets of Hama are really pittoresque and the beautiful noria wheels give this city its charme.
The noria wheels of Hama are places along the Orontes River were developed in Byzantine era and today form a very important esthetic aspect of the city view.
From Homs, for I forget, I also went on a day trip to the medieval Krac des Chevaliers military castle which lies just a short ride away from Homs and is near the Lebanon border. The architecture of the fortress is gorgeous and it really is a great day trip away from the city.
Back to my travel itinerary! From Hama I started to move inland to reach Palmyra, an important city in central Syria located in the desert. Today many tourists visit Palmyra for its temple remains but in Greco-Roman periods a flourishing city, and part of the Roman Province of Syria.
Palmyra was a wealthy and elegant city which still shows today. The Temple of Ba'al-Shamin is the most striking remain, from where an ancient Roman road decorated with old colmuns and gates leads to the ancient city of Palmyra. Besides the Temple of Bel there are the impressive theatre remains which still counts a number of seating rows.
After an impressive guided walk and exciting stay in Palmyra it was time to travel back to Damascus, the place where it all began.
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