The Syrian desert roads

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Leaving from Crac des Chevaliers it’s a long drive through the Syrian desert to get to Palmyra an old oasis town in the middle of Syria. The Syrian desert is quite different from the other desert landscapes I have seen before. It is a lot more barren and you hardly see any vegetation except in some small dried out stream that will only carry water during the occasional rains.

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Road to Iraq

This dry barren desert will suddenly be covered with a green patch in small oasis’ were there for no apparent reason is water breaking through the surface of the ground. I really can’t see why there is suddenly water close to the surface in one spot – it looks to have the same geographical structure as the rest of the desert – but there must be a difference underground.

The drive is mostly along one straight road but then suddenly an intersection approaches – this is the road to Baghdad.

The road sign is kind of a reminder that this peaceful desert is not really located in the most stable part of the world. Syria is still at war with Israel and share a border with Iraq.

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Well still it is time to take one of those pictures your parents really appreciates the picture of the road sign telling you how to get to Iraq – at least my parents will be happy that I will go in the opposite direction for now heading towards Palmyra – going on the road to Iraq most wait until I head on for Damascus.

There the destination approaches – Palmyra old oasis town. There it is the old Roman ruins from long ago – right next to the road.

No fence, no guards, no admission fee and no tourist. There are only a couple of local Bedouins waiting at the end of the column street waiting to give tourist a ride on their camels – and as always a kid selling postcards. This is definitely a place I would like to check out.

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In the evening it is time for a first walk amongst the ruins with only one very persistent sales man to hassle us. We walk down the street and wonder how come all the columns are partly destroy by sandblasting about 2 meters above the ground. It is obvious there has been sand blowing for centuries deteriorating the columns but why 2 meters above the ground? I am confused I don’t understand it – until the next morning when walking along the columns in the early light – suddenly I found the reason.

This blog entry is originally written after a trip through Syria a decade ago. I reread it recently and remember the trip with joy. I decide to repost the blog entries with the hope peace will return to Syria and it will once again become the wonderful country it was during my visit.

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