Palmyra in time for Sunset
Palmyra Travel Blog› entry 18 of 32 › view all entries
Deir Al-Zur Museum
We heard reports that the local museum is the best in Syria. However unlikely that sounded, it did not disappoint. Even though I’m not exactly a museum person, I was rather captivated ... every item was labelled with numbers and referenced to a brief description. The whole museum was organised by era, starting from ancient to modern. Every collection or era was accompanied by large explanations.
When did “Arabic = Hebrew”?
In the language section of the Museum was a language classification tree diagram. Interestingly, “Ancient Hebrew” was translated in the Arabic script as “Arabiah Qadimah” ... meaning Ancient Arabic. “Ancient Arabic” was translated similarly.
Likewise, “Modern Hebrew” and “Modern Arabic” had the same translation into Arabic!
So, there is a political element to the Museum but it was nice to see that it did not permeate the entire building. Somewhere else in the Museum was a display explaining that Armenian, Jewish and Kurdish refugees had contributed significantly to the development in Mesopotamia. I note that the Arabic version did not leave out the Jews.
Getting a walloping
A few kids had been saying “F**k You” to us ... may have learnt it from TV or from visitors. One of these boys ran out of luck when he said it to Ammi who chased him all the way home to his dad. Instead of protection, his dad gave him a severe bashing. He’ll never do it again.
Palmyra is the jewel in Syria’s tourism crown. Despite that it gets a trickle of visitors. Now, you understand the scale of tourism in this beautiful country.
The ruins from the 2nd Century AD cover a massive 50 hectares. Two row of columns line the main street and these are still visible today (not sure how much of it is due to restoration).
Punishment for crimes committed abroad
While having a beer before dinner we noticed an Arab man walk past with some tinnies and sheepishly hop into his Saudi-registered Mercedes Benz. Ooooh! That would probably have earned him a death sentence (or a whipping) at home.
But I wonder if they have penalties for such offences committed abroad? I’ve read that in Singapore, they can punish their citizens for taking drugs while in other countries. There is the possibility of a “Welcome Home” urine test.