Palmyre The Venice of the Sands under threat


Ihr Städte des Euphrats!
Ihr Gassen von Palmyra!
Ihr Säulenwälder in der Eb’ne der Wüste!
Was seid ihr?
(Friederich Hölderlin 1804, „Nachtgesänge“)

Oxford School of Photography

In 2009 I was lucky enough to visit Syria and join my friend John Wreford who then lived in Damascus. He took me on a tour of the country. One of the highlights was our visit to Palmyre. Now it is under threat as reported on the BBC website

Palmyra is in danger. As Islamic State fighters clash with Syrian government forces around the historic site, it is worth considering what the loss of this wonder, dubbed the „Venice of the Sands“, would mean for the world’s cultural heritage.

Palmyra is the last place anyone would expect to find a forest of stone columns and arches. Travellers in the 17th and 18th centuries were repeatedly astonished by what they saw: a vast field of ruins in the middle of the Syrian desert, roughly half-way between the Mediterranean coast and the valley of the River Euphrates.

For anyone visiting, however, the…

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