This website was initiated in mid-2011, shortly after Syria began one of the most tragic and agonising series of events in its long history. I wanted to find some way of keeping alive the memory of Syria’s extraordinarily diverse past while it remained largely closed to visitors due to the violence that has prevailed in much of the country. It remains to be seen what will emerge from these events but I hope that the memories outsiders have of its extraordinary people and their respect for and appreciation of their past, will strengthen as a result of this terrible experience.
Few countries can match Syria in the richness of its historical remains. In the zone west of Aleppo, for example, over 600 Byzantine-era villages survive, often with multiple churches with walls up to their rooflines. There is practically no era not represented in Syria. Palmyra,
the great caravan city at the westernmost point of the Silk Road, still slumbers in the desert, its beautifully carved limestone as crisp and dramatic as 2000 years ago. Magnificent reminders of the folly of past confrontations, including the Crusades, survive in the great fortifications that are scattered across the country — the Krak des Chevaliers; the great Islamic citadel that crowns Aleppo; the refuges of the ‘Assassins’ hidden away in the coastal mountains; or the Damascus Citadel that sustained the long Muslim resistance to the Crusades. Not to be overlooked are the many mosques and madrasas, often tucked away quietly in backstreets or buried within the busy suqs (markets) of the major centres.
You are invited to leave your comments and requests at the site email address—firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are several other websites which give comprehensive coverage to the archaeology of Syria through different perspectives.
I would recommend —
- Daniel Demeter’s excellent photo coverage at — http://www.syriaphotoguide.com
- the website (in French) on Levantine castles of the Crusader period — http://www.orient-latin.com
- a comprehensive coverage of Mamluk era buildings in Syria at — http://monummamluk-syrie.org
- the ‘Aleppean Photographers’ pages at — http://www.panoramio.com/user/1146540
- the fascinating archive of Gertrude Bell’s papers, photos and diaries — http://www.gerty.ncl.ac.uk
‘Monuments of Syria — An Historical and Archaeological Guide‘ first issued 1992 by I B Tauris, London and State University of New York Press; published in a French edition in Damascus and Paris in 1998; second English edition 1999; third edition (‘The Monuments of Syria — A Guide’, I B Tauris, London 2009)
‘Damascus — A History’ was published in 2005 by Routledge, London and New York, and
available in a paperback edition since February 2007.