Bearing Witness


Well I have just finish a week in Syria which is definitely the road less traveled, however after my time there I can’t figure out why. Historic sites, wonderful cities and great people.

I started the week in Damascus and it was without a doubt the best city I have seen on this trip and possibly ever. It is the oldest constantly inhabited city in the world and I now know why. I spent three days there and could have easily spent longer. Checking out the many palaces, Mosques, Hammams and the wonderfully restored Souqs. With every turn down the narrow streets of the old town is another wondrous site – truly one of the worlds great cities.

Next stop was Aleppo which has the most amazing Souqs I have ever seen. The partially covered network of bustling passageways extends well over several hectares, the only problem is finding your way out. Aleppo also has a citadel that was, mainly, constructed during the reign of the Ottoman empire and a great Mosque constructed during the Umayyad period. I also had the best Hammam [Turkish bath] I have have ever had at the Hammam Yalbougha an-Nasry – highly recommended.

My last stop on my Syrian adventure was Crac des Chevaliers – author Paul Theroux described it as “the epitome of the dream castle of childhood fantasies” and TE Lawrence simple called it ” the finest castle in the world” and I am in total agreement with both. It’s amazing and wonderfully preserved by the climate of the area.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Syria, however the highlight of my time there came when I heard that a cease fire had come into effect in Gaza, at last, and the atrocities that Israel had committed there for the last three weeks had ended. Now all that remains is for the atrocities to be investigated and the war criminals to be brought to justice, insharlla. Not to mention the “small” matter of a viable state and the right to self determination for the Palestinian people, so long over due.

The Umayyad Mosque - Damascus

The Umayyad Mosque - Damascus

Statue of Saladin outside the citadel in Damascus

Statue of Saladin outside the citadel in Damascus

Citadel in Aleppo

Citadel in Aleppo

Crac des Chevaliers

Crac des Chevaliers

January 19, 2009 - Posted by | My Travels | , , ,

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