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Palmyra is the biggest open air archeological museum in the Middle East approx. 10 km² in extension and only 30% of it's pevious extension is visible today. Being situated at the end of the “Silk Road” Palmyra supplied Roman markets with many rare goods from Persia, India and China. Palmyra merchants gathers a lot of wealth and even owned ships operating in the Mediterranean. Queen Zenobia was the most mythical female figure in Near East history. Her palace, the huge Baal temple complex with 11 meter high tenemos walls, an over one kilometer long colonnaded main street with two tetrapylons plus the imense Agora market with it's tax inscriptions are Palmyra's main attractions. In addition the many well preserved 20 meter high tower tombs with over 100 loculi are a Palmyrian invention.
Bosra was already mentioned in Egyptian hieroglyphs in 1,400 BC and known as the “black city” built from volcanic basalt stone. With 80,000 inhabitants Bosra was a mega-city at the time and part of the Decapolis union. Bosra is the only antique city with modern inhabited houses between it's ruins still today. It also features the largest and best preserved Roman amphitheatre seating up to 20,000 which was converted during Islamic times into a fortress. When visiting Bosra you will have a special experience because of the black ruins around you and it is the only antique site with as many temples as Byzantine churches and Islamic mosques.
Qatna is a rather unknown site which even before the war was not open to tourists. It was a city state and important long distance trade center which gained enormous wealth and therefore erected an impressive defensive earth wall topped by a stone built city wall. It was a sensation when in 2002 and again in 2009 two unplundered royal tombs deep below the huge palace were discovered.
In this part we describe the highly skilled artisans creating beautiful goldsmith works as well as fine ivory pieces, sought after jewelry, wide range of pottery products, elaborated alabaster vessels and various bronze arms. These items were not imported but Qatna attracted ancient specialists from all over the middle east to produce it locally. It was a palace driven economy at the crossing of various long distance trade routes.