Palmy​ra Reflection

A Journey through Time: Exploring Palmyra's Ancient Ruins in 2009

Exploring Palmyra's Ancient Ruins in 2009

In 2009, I embarked on an unforgettable journey to the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria, which was my bucket list dream destination. Little did I know that this trip would become even more meaningful as the years passed, as the ruins I had the privilege of exploring would tragically be heavily damaged during the Syrian war. Join me as I reminisce about this once-in-a-lifetime experience and reflect on the significance of witnessing Palmyra's magnificence before its destruction.

Arrival in Palmyra 

Upon my arrival in Palmyra, I was immediately entranced by the city's profound historical ambience. Before my visit, I had extensively researched this site to ensure I understood its importance to Syrian civilisation. The desert landscape, bathed in warm sunlight, that enveloped the ruins was a magnificent sight. I was eager to commence my exploration and discover the hidden secrets of Palmyra.

The Grand Colonnade

My first stop was the iconic Grand Colonnade, a mile-long stretch of Corinthian columns that once served as the city's main thoroughfare. Walking along this ancient road, I couldn't help but imagine the vibrant markets and bustling trade that once occurred here. The enormity and grandeur of the columns were awe-inspiring, leaving me with a profound sense of the city's past splendour. At the time, I thought I had been very fortunate to have seen many ancient sites; however, this site was one of the most well-preserved.

I visited the magnificent Temple of Bel. This well-preserved structure showcased the exquisite craftsmanship of the ancient Palmyrene architects. The intricate carvings and details told stories of gods and legends long forgotten. Standing at the temple's entrance, I marvelled at this religious sanctuary's sheer scale and beauty.

Reflection and Gratitude

Looking back on this journey, I can't help but feel an immense sense of gratitude for having experienced Palmyra's ancient ruins before the ravages of war changed its landscape forever. The Syrian conflict, which began in 2011, resulted in significant destruction to the historical sites of Palmyra, causing irreversible damage to the world's cultural heritage (Palmyra before and after - Visual Guide).

It is essential to cherish and protect our shared history. Palmyra, once a beacon of civilisation, now serves as a sad reminder of the fragility of cultural heritage. It is a testament to the importance of safeguarding these treasures for future generations.

As travellers, we have a unique opportunity to witness and appreciate the marvels of ancient cultures. While it is heartbreaking to see the loss of such irreplaceable sites, our memories and experiences can serve as a testament to their former glory.