Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hama. Palmyra.

assuming we have not been abducted by bandits, we continue thru scenic...
...where we'll hopefully be making our way south thru some small towns to see some old stuff.

Hama (ancient Hamath; Arabic: حماة‎ Ḥamāh, "fortress") is a city on the banks of the Orontes River in central Syria north of Damascus.The city is the location of the historical city Hamath.

The ancient settlement of Hamath was occupied from the early Neolithic  to the Iron Age. Remains from the Chalcolithic era have been uncovered by Danish archaeologists on the mount of the mount on which the former citadel once stood.

Hama's most famous attractions are its 17 norias, dating back to the Byzantine times. Fed by the Orontes river, they are up to 20 metres (66 ft) in diameter. The largest norias are the al-Mamunye  (1453) and the al-Muhammediye (14th century). Originally they were used to route water into aqueducts, which led into the town and the neighbouring agricultural areas.

Palmyra (Arabic: تدمر Tadmur‎) was an ancient Aramaic city[1][2][3], In ancient times it was an important city of central Syria, located in an oasis  215 km northeast of Damascus[4]  and 180 km southwest of the Euphrates  at Deir ez-Zor. It has long been a vital caravan city for travellers crossing the Syrian desert and was known as the Bride of the Desert. The earliest documented reference to the city by its Semitic name Tadmor, Tadmur or Tudmur (which means "the town that repels" in Amorite and "the indomitable town" in Aramaic.[5]) is recorded in Babylonian tablets found in Mari.[6]

Though the ancient site fell into disuse after the 16th century, it is still known as Tadmor in Arabic, and there is a newer town next to the ruins of the same name. The Palmyrenes constructed a series of large-scale monuments containing funerary art such as limestone slabs with human busts representing the deceased.

The most striking building in Palmyra is the huge temple of Ba'al, considered "the most important religious building of the first century AD in the Middle East". It originated as a Hellenistic temple, of which only fragments of stones survive. The central shrine (cella) was added in the early 1st century AD, followed by a large double colonnaded portico in Corynthian style. The west portico and the entrance (propylaeum) date from the 2nd century. The second most noteworthy remain in Palmyra the theater dated to the early 1st century AD.

alright. enough of this cultural mumbo-jumbo already.

this pre-written post brought to you by Bubo the dumb robotic owl from 1981's Clash of the Titans. because there was ancient stuff involved there, and that's the gist i expect to get from both of the above towns (sans silly mechanical owls, hopefully).

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