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Palmyra by night

I’ve camped in some amazing locations, but never thought I’d spend a night camped in the midst of one of Syria’s premier archaeological sites – the ancient city of Palmyra.

When we arrived it was beginning to get dark and we drove the truck up a slope towards the tower tombs in an area referred to as the Valley of the Tombs. The idea was to camp there and be overlooking Palmyra’s ruins in the morning, but just as we found a suitable spot and began unpacking our gear Palmyra’s security descended on us and moved us on. However, a friendly security man let us camp near to his guard station by the main road, but right in front of the Temple of Baal with the main Palmyra site the other side of the road in front of us. In hind-sight we probably shouldn’t have just driven onto the site, and he said that it was safer for us to be near his guard post.

The ruins were closed, but they were lit up by flood lights and this proved too much of a temptation for me and I confess that I shirked my camp duties for one night and sneaked off in the dark to take a few pictures…

It was a little spooky sneaking around the site avoiding what I thought were security guards, there was someone on a motorbike moving around and as I didn’t know who this was I kept a low profile hiding in the numerous fallen columns and archaeological debris. I managed to get a few half-descent shots, using rocks or building stones for support as I had no tripod, but I didn’t dare venture as far as the Tetrapylon – the place was beginning to feel a little spooky!

On the hill above the site is Palmyra castle, or Fakhr-al-Din al-Ma’ani castle to give it it’s proper name. The castle was also lit up by flood lights and as there were no lights between it and the Palmyra ruins it seemed to be floating high in the air adding to the atmosphere. I eventually called it a day and went back to camp – not sure if it was guilt at shirking camp duties, or whether it was because the place was starting to freak me out!?

The next morning we were up early and packed away the camp and headed over to the ruins for a more traditional tour of Palmyra – the ‘bride of the desert’.

Check out more pictures from Palmyra:

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