Bride of the Desert
Palmyra Travel Blog› entry 8 of 8 › view all entries
A city that has long captured the imagination, Palmyra has not without reason been called ‘The Bride of the Desert’.
There has been a settlement here since Palaeolithic times, but it was the influencing factors of Hellenistic, Parthian and Roman control that saw the city develop into one of the most important trading centres of the ancient world.
During the protracted struggles between the Parthian and Roman empires, Palmyra managed to retain a semblance of neutrality, benefiting from the trade between both superpowers and eventually becoming a powerful citystate of the Roman provinces.
Under Queen Zenobia this power grew even more, until Palmyra threatened the very balance of the status quo and Rome moved to eliminate this threat to their empire forever.
Palmyra never recovered and this marked the beginning of the end for this once powerful desert city. We spend the morning exploring this archaeological gem, taking in some of its monuments and temples, dyed pink by the passage of time and the desert sun, paying a visit to the museum and the white lime-stone temple of Bel, by far the city’s most impressive and best-preserved monument.
Built around 32AD the lines of Corinthian columns and tetra pylons, linking together like the bare bones of a skeleton shimmering in the desert heat, present a powerful image amongst the barren desolation.