Tag Archives: Middle East

Wordless Wednesday – St Simeon’s Monastery, Syria

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A-Z April Challenge – Yad Vashem

There is something haunting about visiting somewhere connected to the Holocaust. I am yet to visit an ex concentration camp and the closest that I have come are museums in Warsaw and Terezin in Czechia and the disturbing Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, as well as the subject of my post. Yad Vashem based in […]

A-Z April Challenge, St Simeon’s Monastery, Syria

St Simeon’s Monastery is located some 30km north of Aleppo. St Simeon is the guy who legend has it was driven up the pole! Simeon the Stylite lived for 37 years in the 5th century on top of a one metre square platform atop a 15 metre high pillar. He had already lived in solitude […]

A-Z April Challenge – Norias of Hama, Syria

In May 2009 I was lucky enough to visit Syria. This is how it was before the tragic conflict. Hama is famous for its norias, huge wooden water wheels used to lift water from the River Orontes to irrigate the crops. It is claimed that they date back to 1100 BC and although no longer […]

A-Z April Challenge – Jerash

I visited Jordan in 2005 and whilst Petra was as you may expect the undoubted highlight, the Roman ruins of Jerash was not far behind. I am yet to visit the likes of Persepolis, Carthage and Leptis Magna, but having been to Volubilis, Butrint, Pompeii, Baalbek, Beit Sheehan and others, I would put Jerash (Gerasa) […]

Syrian Traders

Syria Before The Conflict Part Six, Damascus

The capital was to be our last port of call on our magical Syrian tour. The bus from Palmyra was packed, so we took the only available seats right at the back on the left hand side. Before long a soldier was leaning on Hamish’s shoulder fast asleep! We stopped half way for a foodstop. […]

Wordless Wednesday – Syrian Sisters

Syria Before The Conflict Part Five, Saladin’s Castle & Memory Tricks

Are you ever convinced of something only to find that the memory has played tricks on you? Well this happened to me whilst chronicling my 2009 Syria trip. I have just discovered some notes I scribbled along the way and have found two long held beliefs to be incorrect. First of all we visited in […]

Syria Before The Conflict Part Three, Hama & Krak

We bade a very fond farewell to Aleppo. We were on the 4am train to Hama some three hours south. Our hotel had kindly made us a packed breakfast. Not overly appealing as it happened, but nice of them to take the trouble. As you might expect, we slept most of the way and set […]