Pyramid Tombs of Idleb

Man had always thought of life after death, and peoples all round the world dedicated large portions of their thinking and, sometimes, of their wealth to prepare a good resting place for themselves after earthly life. The greatest achievements man had ever made in preparation for that purpose are the tomb Pyramids of alGiza which the Pharaohs built for themselves, and the pyramids of the Aztec civilization in Latin America. But these huge burial monuments were mostly built by great kings and queens in periods when their countries enjoyed a wealthy economy and a high degree of scientific progress. In later times peoples built great mausoleums for their leaders and beloved ones like Napoleon’s tomb in France and Taj Mahal in India.

These great tombs constituted an unusual architectural phenomenon narrating the story of a man who devoted himself to certain religious beliefs, mainly life after death, or in another meaning immortality of the spirit, not the body, which deceases and changes into a mere memory.

Semiramis Legendary Queen of Assyria

French «Encyclopedia Larousse» defined Semiramis as a legendary queen of Assyria who ruled the kingdom of Nineveh, capital of Mesopotamia in the period between 810-805 BC. She was known for her beauty, power, wisdom, and for her unusual talent as a state leader, army com-mander, conquests of other coun¬tries and for her desire for reform and building. Many references say that she built the city of Babel and its suspended gardens, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, dubbed «Semiramis Gardens». She fought many wars, and invaded Egypt, Sudan and Abyssinia. She attacked the Medians, grand fathers of the Persians, who set¬tled in Northern Iran in the first millennium BC and built the city of Akabatana, now Hamadan, as their capital, and who were of constant difference with the king¬dom of Assyria. She achieved victory on them and invaded large parts of Asia Minor.

“Damascus is the centre of the world,”

My guide, Abdul, is getting into his stride. “Damascus is the centre of the world,” he says. “Just look at a map! It’s exactly at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. That is why, in the days of the Arab empire, it was the richest city in the world. All the Silk Road traders stopped here. Everyone!” He breaks off as the waiter brings our coffee, and chats briefly to the boy in Arabic (“He’s one of my students from my Heritage Tourism class!”) while I gaze around. I’m in love. Not with Abdul, endearing though he is, and with whom I am sitting in the Damascus National Museum’s open-air café – a vineroofed affair, with tree stumps for table supports, overlooking the museum’s straggly garden filled with ancient statues. A thoroughly knowledgeable guide is the greatest travel luxury – and Abdul is the best in the city, according to the local Madame Fixit.