Palmyra Off The Beaten Path Tips by call_me_rhia Top 5 Page for this destination
Palmyra Off The Beaten Path: 10 reviews and 20 photos
the arab fortress near palmyra
Qala'at ibn maan is the local arab fortress standing on top of a hill, like a true eagle's nest. It's not far from the ruins, but it's actually farther than it looks, so it's advisable to have plenty of time to talk there, or to have a car take you up there. The castle itsenf is not truly spectacular or anything: just a fancy empty shell. However, should it be a sunny day with a very clear sky,it's definitely worth to pay a trip out there. Why? Because from there the views over the ruins are truly something else. In case of a misty day, like mine, don't feel sad and give it a miss: it's not really worth the effort
the valley of the tombs in the morning mist
No, it's not a mistake... not the wrong country! Like Egypt, Syria too has its valley of funerary Tombs: it's located to the outh of Palmyra, past the ruins and behind the low hills that you can see in the distance. Basically one could say that the entire area around Palmyra is an enormous fascinating cemetery. There are hundreds of tombs in different shapes of sizes: some built underground like the tomb of the three brothers, some "overground" and shaped like towers like the Tower of Elahbel- Much as I liked the ruins of the Old City, it's this lower-key part of Palmyra that really made my day: unexpected, mysterious, fascinating
the tower of Elahbel
The tower of Elahbel is another example of funerary tower: this time it is not underground like some, butfreestanding. This tower is 4 floors high and well preserved: inside, originally, several hundreds of coffins would have been kept, and each would have had a stone-carved portait in front of it. These carvings have now been removed, but you can see them at the National Museum in Damascus. It's also possible to climb to the foor of this tower for great views over the surrounding valley: in my casew it was coming out of the morning mist and it was particularly suggestive and eerie. Entrance to the tomb is 150 syrian pounds (dec 2002) and you need to buy your ticket in town, at the museum: check your hotel for opening times - as it's only possible to visit about 4 times a day.
the main hall of the tomb
The tomb of the three brothers is an impressive undergroung tomb at the beginning of the Valley of the Tombs, not far from the posh cham palace hotel - It was built in the second century AD and contains roughly about four hundred niches (and dead people). The reason for this is that tombs were very expensive affairs, so some people, like these three brothers, had to rent out burial spaces in order to maintain them. The walls are covered with interesting and colourful frescoes, especially the one with the portraits of the three brothers. Entrance (dec 2002) was 150 syrian pounds: ask your hotel for opening times as they may vary according to the season: photos are not allowed (hence the pic below comes from a postcard)
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