More eternal than Rome – Damascus

April 8th, 2007

More eternal than Rome – DamascusDimashq, 3:00a.m., when arriving at the international airport of Damas, how Syrians lovingly call Damascus, I didn’t know that Syria’s capital will evolve to be the highlight of my Orient journey. »»

Krak des Chevaliers – Crusader Fortress in the Orient

Krak des Chevaliers – Crusader Fortress in the OrientTo both, Christians and Muslims, the Syrian Crusader castle Krak des Chevaliers, or in Arabic Qal’at al-Hosn (قلعة الحصن), is one of the most important remnants of the time of the Crusades. For the fortification’s occupant Krak des Chevaliers guaranteed control and access to one of the most important trade channels used since ancient times, leading from the coast of Syria to the inland. Even in the currently ongoing Syrian civil war this UNESCO world heritage still provides protection and strategic benefits, what puts the fortification at the risk of military demolition »»

Noria – Hama’s ancient giant Waterwheels

Noria – Hama’s ancient giant WaterwheelsWhen having a look at the city of Hama (حماة) from space, then one can quickly spot Orontes River winding itself like green belt through Hama’s gaunt and desert-like vicinity. Ancestors took advantage of the river’s life-giving character and built an irrigation system having archaic pump stations in the form of giant wooden water wheels, so called Norias. Even today those ancient survivors of all times spread its fairytale vibe all over »»

Aleppo – Turbulent, chaotic Soap Paradise

Aleppo – Turbulent, chaotic Soap ParadiseFrom time immemorial the north Syrian city of Aleppo (حلب), the former Aramaic Halab, is a centre of trading. Today this glorious history is still pretty much alive at the Medina, the old town, where the fairytale bazar and the mighty citadel tell stories from ancient times. Though the city can be quite a bustle, in particular when it comes to traffic. Then the only quiet place is a hammam, where you can indulge yourself in the famous hand-scooped Aleppo soap »»

The ancient Roman Ruins of Palmyra

The ancient Roman Ruins of PalmyraSome thousands of years ago already the mighty Romans appreciated the oasis of Palymra (تدمر), nowadays Syrian Tadmur, as a place amidst the desert to refuel mind, body and soul. They developed the oasis into becoming a city. When their empire collapsed they left us behind a place where the disappearing of an ancient power couldn’t be more alive. Palmyra’s unique historic charm easily matches the spirit of big wonders like the pyramids or rock-hewn city of Petra, in particular when the rising or setting desert sun stages the magnificent Tetrapylon »»