Ravaged by war, the ancient city of Palmyra, the pearl of the Syrian desert, is a place with a very rich history. Here is the opportunity to rediscover this site listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Since May 2015, the ancient city of Palmyra has been in the headlines because of the conflict between the Islamic State group and the Syrian army (in particular). However, this city of more than 2000 years, registered by Unesco in the world heritage of humanity, is a fabulous place. Before the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011, more than 150 tourists visited this desert oasis located 000 km northeast of Damascus, with 210 columns, statues and the formidable necropolis of 1000 tombs.
First mentioned in the archives of Mari in the XNUMXnd millennium BC. BC, according to the Unesco site, Palmyra was a caravan oasis established when it fell under Roman control in the first half of the XNUMXst century and was attached to the Roman province of Syria.
Palmyra (City of Palm Trees) - whose official name in Syria is Tadmor (City of Dates) - gradually became a prosperous city on the road linking Persia, India and China to the Roman Empire, thanks to trade spices and perfumes, silk and ivory from the east, statues and glasswork from Phenicia.
In 129, Palmyra was declared a free city by the Roman emperor Hadrian and experienced its golden age in the 2015nd century AD The city was “built according to a Western structure, an agora, large streets, a theater, temples, we could almost compare it to Rome ”, explained in May XNUMX Marielle Pic, who heads the Department of Oriental Antiquities at the Louvre.
“One of the characteristics of Palmyra are large multi-storey funeral towers in which the sarcophagi were superimposed”, she underlined.
The city's prosperity peaked in the third century, during the time of Queen Zenobia, who challenged the Roman Empire. In 267 AD, the Arab governor of Palmyra Odeinat was mysteriously assassinated. His wife Zénobie takes power. Driven by her desire for freedom and glory, Zenobia took possession of Syria in 270, invaded Egypt and launched her troops as far as the Bosporus, before being overthrown in 272 by Emperor Aurelian.