Tour in Prof. Fawaz Azki's Geological Museum

"If I don’t add something to this universe, so I am something additional in it. Astronomy has taught me that Earth is the most beautiful planet and geology has taught me that Syria is the most beautiful map”, Dr. Eng Fawaz Azki, a professor at the faculty of science, Geology Department, told the Syriatimes e-newspaper in a recent visit to his geological museum.

Prof. Azky's geological museum, the only one of its kind in Syria and the first museum of geology established in the Middle East, is part of the cultural, educational and scientific heritage of Syria and of the entire world. It is located in Lattakia's Kismin village which enjoys spectacular beautiful landscape, rich diverse nature and a particular scientific significance derived from its geological, morphologic and paleontological  characteristics.

  “Geology has been accompanying me since childhood, and after twenty years of geological excavation tours in Syria and the world and traveling for 44000 kilometer around Syria on my feet, I managed to collect rare distinguished samples of fossils and rocks," Dr. Azki said.

He added “Syria is rich in and famous for its distinguished geological, scientific and cultural heritage and in the absence of a geological museum in the country, I planned to transform my own house in my village Kasmin into the first geological museum in Syria in 2002."

Turning geology from a mysterious world into a general culture

Dr. Azki pointed out that his geological museum aims at turning geology from a mysterious world into a general culture and at showing the influence of mankind on the future of geology.

"The museum plays a vital and key role in serving students of schools and universities, researchers and other interested persons” and more importantly, it allows ideas and knowledge to be passed on across generations rather than existing only for the here and now," Porf. Azki said, indicating that numerous research projects on geology-related topic swere conducted in the museum's laboratory.

The Syrian geologist indicated that the museum was built according to a Syrian architectural style from boulders brought from Lattakia mountains.

The museum consists of two parts:

The open-air museum, according to Azki, includes over 60 huge samples of all kinds of rocks that can be found in Syria,as well as a collection of models for dinosaurs in their normal size as Dr.Azki imagined.  The collection includes the herbivorous dinosaur from the Jurassic period, the carnivorous dinosaur from the cretaceous period and the bird dinosaur as Syria was a home for the dinosaur at the cretaceous period..

In the open air museum a visitor can see a Syrian volcano model  with a  base diameter of at 3m and height at 3m and with six samples of natural volcanic rocks inside.

Dr Azki went on to say that the internal part of the museum is divided into seven sections:

1-    Fossil section displays more than 120 fossils found in Syria and other parts of the world.

2-    The Minerals section has over 100 kinds of minerals and ores, representing all the minerals of Syria.

3-    The Innate geology section includes a collection of some rock tools ( clay, basalt and sandstone) which are handmade by ancient Syrian people.

4-    The black hole section is a lobby with curved roof .It is a cosmic black hole which makes the way to the fifth section.

5-    The cave section shows the types of caves in Syria and it includes stalagmites and stalactites.

6-    The rock section displays the existing rocks in Syria and other regions of the world including sedimentary, magmatic and metamorphic rocks.

7-    The museum library includes more than 1000 reference in English, Arabic, French and Romanian language and many geological charts and maps of Syria the most important and ancient of which is the one drawn in 1945 and many items representing of the tectonic phenomena.

Geologist Azki has participated in a number of international, Arab and local scientific conferences, forums and symposiums on geology, fossils, hydrogeology and remote sensing in several foreign and Arab countries.

First Arabic geological encyclopedia

It is worthy to mention that Dr. Azki has several publications and researches on earthquakes, sun eclipse, moon eclipse, geomorphology, geological survey and remote sensing. He is the author of the first Arabic geological encyclopedia published in 2006.

He received recommendation from former Romanian president Emil Constantinescu in 2002 appreciating his geological innovations and effective participation in all scientific activities and international conferences on geology and necessitating his participation in every international scientific forum.

He indicated that the museumwas visited by many delegations from Syria, Arab and foreign countries including Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece and Ramallah as the museum is being on the list of the tourist destinations of the Syrian Ministry of Tourism.

Al Azki said "from the beginning, the museum has been a partner of many geo-archaeology tourist programs and its activities represent an example to follow. And in my own astronomical observatory, which is under construction now on the roof of the museum, astronomical observations for both scientific and educational purposes are made by visitors of the museum, including students and researchers who are eager to know about the universe."

"My hammer is my identity, there is a very close relationship between the job and national feeling, because a geologist studies the mountains, rocks and rivers, yet he is the first to defend them, and my telescope is the window through which I can observe the planets, stars and the universe” Dr. Azki said.

He affirmed that the museum is part of the cultural, educational and scientific heritage of Syria and it is a scientific and geo- tourist place as it plays a key role in the development of science and cultural-geo-tourism in Syria, the Middle East and the world.

He wishes that this museum would become a recognizable scientific cultural and tourist site for the benefit of his own country.

Entry to the museum is free for all visitors because in Azki’s  opinion "If I don’t add something to this universe, so I am something additional in it."

Interviewed by Rawaa Ghanam