23.01.2008 0 °C
I took a bus from Damascus to Homs and visited the Kraz de Chevaliers, the most complete Crusader's castle in the world. Located on top of a mountain and around surrounding villages, it had almost 2000 soldiers and hundreds of horses in its glory time around 1200.
After a short stop, I jumped into a packed minibus for a freezing journey to Palymra, a city where queen Zenobia had made famous during the Roman period. Tower tombs, oasis and magnicent Roman architecture with eastern influence is not the only attraction. Most syrian bedouins also resides here in the eastern desert and provide great hospitality.
Another bus took me from Palmyra to Hama, a relaxing city with norias (waterwheels) and artist galleries inside the small old city alleys. A father with his baby chatted with me while I did my sketch of the waterwheels after sunset.
On route from Hama, I visited yet another ancient city called Apamea (Afamia) and Cities of Dead. Although I was honestly a bit 'ruined out' at this point, the history and architecture never failed to impress. My friendly taxi driver, Jihad, let me drive his taxi through the Bedouin villages. The stare from Bedouin women and children from the villages almost made me uneasy at times, I must represent all 'Asians' to them.
My last stop in Syria is Aleppo, the second largest city. The main attraction here is the citadel in the city center. With an impressive entrance and settings inside like a maze, locals and tourists climbed through walls to get the best views for the city. A group of boys followed me for a while before getting up the courage to ask for photos. I gladly accepted the opportunity. Another local merchant showed me an old insane asylum and soap factory in the old city before inviting me for tea. Just one of the many encounters and invitations from people in the country of the Silk Road, one with a modern soul formed by millions of anicent history.