European Travelers and Magic of the Orient

In the middle of the fifth Century BC, in his book “History” the Greek historian Herodotus attracted the attention of the Greeks to another world located on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean; a world full of charm and beauty, and said it is necessary to explore it and discover its details. These words left a great desire in the west towards the East which, with the passage of time, it became the symbol of magic, dreams, philosophy, veiled women, Arabian Nights, Scheherazade and Shehriar, and above all, charm and ecstasy. To explore this magic Orient and its geographical attractions many European travelers ventured into it during the last three hundred years to reveal some of its secrets.

Syria and the New Silk Road

Ulf Sandmark to the Syria Times:

 Syria’s geographical position connects the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa in the World Land-Bridge.

Ulf Sandmark, economist and Stockholm correspondent for executive intelligence review, a member of the visiting delegation, presented a document for Syrian reconstruction projects, including a number of key tracks setting out the country’s main priorities. He expressed his desire to find local partners to assist in setting up proposed projects.Ulf Sandmark told Syria Times that  the Defending Syria Body Founded in Sweden in 2012,  provides humanitarian and financial assistance to Syria, while helping Syrian expatriates and businessmen engage in supporting the Syrian people and contributing to the reconstruction process.

The Mosaic Mueseum of Ma'arret Al-Nu'man

The Mosaic Museum of Ma’arret alNu’man is housed in a khan built by the Ottoman Murat Pasha, Custodian of the Sultanate Treasury in 1595 AD.

The khan was built as a hostel and a takieh (shelter for feeding the poor). The building is considered one of the best khans built at that time in terms of beauty and solidness, located in the eastern part of Ma’arret alNu’man, in the middle of AbulA’laa St. not far from Khan Asa’ad Pacha alA’zem, with a small garden in between and a statue of the renowned poet AbulA’laa alMa’arri, with official buildings surrounding it on the other sides.

 The building is made of local white lime stone. It has four perpendicular wings and towers on the roofs and elegant arched porticos of high arches and arched ceilings. The façade is 70m long while the depth of the building is 80m.

Each wing is 15m wide with a corridor separating between each two wings and leading to the utilities. Porticoes surround an open air spacious courtyard with a pond in the center. South of the building stands the mosque with a hemispherical dome. In the west there is a Turkish bath house with its traditional sections, in the north there is the bakery of the takieh and depots of grains, as well as the water reservoir which brings water through clay pipes into the khan and the mosque. All in all the area of the khan is 7000 sm.

Totola Fortified City

The city of Totol, now named Tall alBeia, was founded north east of ancient Raqqa, at the confluence of the Euphrates-Balikh Rivers, among green fields, on a 600-700m high hill.

The hill attracted the attention of many people who started excavating clandestinely anticipating finding important treasures, actions which affected the features and landmarks of the hill.

Many travelers, scientists, and foreigners visited the hill at the beginning of the past century, wrote about in their memoirs and researchers.

Kingdom of Nabada

Kingdom of NabadaTall Beydar- alHasakeh

Historical site of Tall Beydar lies on a fertile plain 35km north of al- Hasakeh City on the main road of Derbaseyeh- alHasakeh. It seems that a river used to run near the Tall. A joint Syrian-European mission headed by Dr. Antoine Suleiman, a Syrian archeologist, and Dr. Mark Lupo, European, started archaeological excavations there in 1992.

Results of excavations proved that the Tall was settled in 4500BC, an era known as the Age of alUbeid, and reached its culmination in the third millennium, between 2800- 2200 BC, in the age of early dynasties when a local kingdom was established around an urban center and later became an integrated city.

Excavations of recent years revealed that the Tall hosted the local Kingdom of Nabada, an early city-kingdom formed in the «Syrian Jezira» which assumed a distinguished administrative and cultural position.