Overview of Palmyra at sunset showing the Great Colonnade running from the Funerary Temple in the foreground to the Temple of Bel at rear. Photo: Quintin Lake
Monumental Arch, the entrance to the city, Palmyra, Syria. Photo: Quintin Lake
Great Colonnade, Palmyra. Photo: Quintin Lake
Columns of the Great Colonnade in front of the Valley of the Tombs, Palmyra. Photo: Quintin Lake
Arch of the Great Colonnade at sunset, Palmyra, Syria. Photo: Quintin Lake
Tetrapylon, placed at a crossroads, Palmyra, Syria. Photo: Quintin Lake
Theatre, Palmyra, Syria. Photo: Quintin Lake
Stone seats and steps in the theatre at Palmyra, Syria. Photo: Quintin Lake
A commanding view of Palmyra seen from the Temple of the Standards in Diocletian's Camp (said to be the location of the Palace of Zenobia) Photo: Quintin Lake
Funerary Temple at Diocletian's Camp. Palmyra, Syria. Photo: Quintin Lake
Temple of Baal Shamin. Palmyra. Photo: Quintin Lake
Temple of Baal Shamin Interior. Palmyra. Photo: Quintin Lake
Cella or Inner Temple of the Temple of Bel, Palmyra. Photo: Quintin Lake
Towers of Yemliko, Valley of the Tombs, Palmyra, Syria. Photo: Quintin Lake
Tower of Elahbel, burial tower, Palmyra, Syria. Photo: Quintin Lake
Burial Chambers inside Tower of Elahbel, burial tower, Palmyra. Photo: Quintin Lake
Muslim Castle, Palmyra (Qala'at ibn Maan or Fakhr-al-Din al-Maani Castle), built by the Mamluks in the 13th century. The castle overlooks Palmyra. Photo: Quintin Lake
Valley of the Tombs at sunset, Palmyra. Photo: Quintin Lake
Roadside poster of Bashar al-Assad, president of Syria, February 2011 depicted with the ruins of Palmyra. Photo: Quintin Lake
An oasis in the Syrian desert, north-east of Damascus, Palmyra contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world. From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.
It had 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 Aramai is recorded in Babylonian tablets found in Mari.
Palmyra became the capital of the short-lived Palmyrene Empire (260–273) which was a splinter empire, that broke off of the Roman Empire during the the Third Century. It encompassed the Roman provinces of Syria Palaestina, Egypt and large parts of Asia Minor. The Palmyrene Empire was ruled by Queen Zenobia.
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