|revised & updated edition
With a wealth of historical splendors matched by few other countries, Syria has remained almost undiscovered by mass tourism. As a result, little has been spoiled, much is unknown, and there is much to discover.
It is a land of immense antiquity, boasting cities and archaeological remains that are among the oldest in the world. Hittites, Hurrians and Hebrews, Aramaeans, Assyrians and Arabs, Egyptians, Canaanites, Persians, Nabateans, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Turks and French have all come, leaving behind some of the most spectacular monuments that can be seen anywhere. Today, entire deserted cities such as Palmyra or Resafeh, immense castles like Crac des Chevaliers and a bewildering array of palaces, mosques, temples, theatres, churches and other ruins strewn across the country provides Syria with one of the richest and most diverse heritages in the world.
Syria's timeless monuments overawe the visitor. But they can enchant as well: to lose oneself in the back-streets and bazaars of old Damascus and Aleppo - still perhaps the most wholly satisfying traditional cities of the Arab world today - or to experience the sheer enchantment of the utterly haunting Dead Cities - probably the greatest concentration of ruins in the entire Mediterranean - is to experience travel at its very best. Most of all, the visitor to Syria meets with the characteristic courtesy and hospitality to outsiders that makes travel in the Arab world such a pleasure. Syria is still 'the best kept secret'.
The new completely revised and updated edition of this book is to keep pace both with the rapid increase in travel to Syria and the new material which has appeared on Syria itself.
With lucid and informative text, this book reconsiders the history and heritage of Syria and surveys the major sites, making a strong case for reassessing its importance in our perception of the growth of civilization out of the Middle East. With its many site plans and maps, readable text and 96 color plates, it makes available the immensely wealthy history, archaeology and architecture of Syria to the general reader and the interested traveler.