Saturday, February 6, 2010

Just Exploring Ancient Syria

Here's a small part of my Syria. The pictures were supposed to be presented chronologically in an aesthetically pleasing manner, but I'm blog illiterate. I decided my time in the internet cafe isn't the best place to work on such skills. Please feel free to create your own creative "peace" from my unorganized experience while always remembering that Syria rocks! Also almost all of these pictures were taken by my buddy Ty Arnold. He's an amazing photographer as you are about to see.
Palmyra! Some say it's the biggest best preserved ancient Roman city. I say it has the best landscape. Wiki "Queen Zenobia" and you'll be entertained by stories of one of the toughest women in history. This was her city.
Behind me is the Euphrates river plain! How cool is that? In this picture I'm on an ancient tel called Dura Europas. This tell has the oldest known Christian Church (oldest church built for the purpose of worship) and Jewish Synagogue in the world.
Oudai is the guy with the beard. When I first met him I couldn't stop staring at him. I hope I don't offend Shea Stott my saying this, but he's by far the best Jesus East of the Mediterranean. His Druze family invited me to their home in Sueida for New Year's.
This is a UN controlled deserted town called Quinetra in the Golan Heights. Israel took control of the Golan after the 6-Day War in 1967. In 1974 they gave a small portion back only after completely stripping the capital city of anything valuable, bulldozing the city, and taking it's 40,000 citizens.
Check out the stairs hanging from the building on the left. The city was completely destroyed.
The border between the UN-controlled Golan, and Israeli-occupied Golan. The other side of the barbed wire fence is a land mine. If you look close you can see the Israeli towers in the background. We had to get a special permit to come to Quinetra.
Abandoned Church in the Quinetra. Although, approximately 90% were Druze there was still a small population of Christians and Sunnis.
The fertile plain of the Euphrates. This is just below what you see in that first picture.
Palmyra's cardo!
These are tombs we were able to climb through and up on top to watch the sunset. Inside were dozens of individual tombs with lots of bones. I felt like Indiana Jones. During the trip to the Euphrates and surrounding areas, we were virtually the only tourists in site and on the sites.

The most famous and best well preserved Crusader Castle in the world, the Krac de Chevaliers. It's the castle they use in "Kingdom of Heaven"
Spent Christmas day with a Christian family. The lady in the black sweater in the middle is the only local of our 8 member Syrian branch. Being a faithful member didn't stop her relatives from having a good time on Christmas Eve. Drinking and dancing is an identity marker for Christians in the Middle East.
Palmyra bones!
Before and after shots. Let's just admit it, I'm freaking hot when I'm posing. I guess it comes natural. I decided to cut my beard because people thought I was 35 years old. Seriously though. The moment after the shave was complete, re-entrance into society was complete. A the barber was cleaning up the hair, he asked me how old I was. I told him to guess. He said 25. Anna if you like older men I can grow my beard back. Oh wait I already am an older man huh?

Me as a tall, dark, and handsome middle-aged man.


  1. Great post! Wow the sites are amazing. I love the Roman ruins. Cool! Looks like great fun. Are you still living with the artistic friends? Thanks for posting. We all miss you!

  2. I think you look a lot better without the beard!! but that was a pretty impressive beard!! Great post i wish we could come visit!!

  3. No freaking way. I can't even believe this is real. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your surreal life.