The History of Christmas

The history of Christmas dates back over 4000 years. Many of our Christmas traditions were celebrated centuries before the Christ child was born. The 12 days of Christmas, the bright fires, the yule log, the giving of gifts, carnivals(parades) with floats, carolers who sing while going from house to house, the holiday feasts, and the church processions can all be traced back to the early Mesopotamians.

Lake of Artifacts

Syria is floating on a lake of artifacts. In alHasaka (alJazira) alone there are more than 1500 archaeological sites. To continue, we can mention uncountable sites in the south; in the Golan, in Hauran, in alSweidaa, and in the north; in Aleppo, and Idleb, and in the East; in Palmyra, Deir Ezzor and alRaqqa, and also in the west ; in Lattakia, Jableh and Tartous.

Damascus might be the capital of all these archaeological and historical sites. It is not only the oldest living town on earth, but it is the only living museum in the Globe. What increases the element of excitement is that the greatest artifacts are still buried underground, although some of them, emerge , from time to time, so that our eyes can see them, our minds assimilate them but our imagination cannot behold them.

Emar...Ancient Near East Portal (2)

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The earliest findings up to this point were unearthed beneath the temple of Ba'al and the courtyard east of it. In three building levels following close one upon the other, Early Bronze Age dwelling-houses are more or less well preserved. The two later levels are disturbed by the foundations of the temple, which reach that far down. So far, the earliest level has yielded a small room (ca. 2 x 2.5 m). Its walls are made of pise' mixed with pebbles and covered with a thin layer of mud and lime. It contained a large and varied inventory that was crushed in situ on the floor. The inventory comprises clay vessels as well as (the upper parts of) terracotta figurines and jewelry made of mother-of-pearl and of bone.

Emar...Ancient Near East Portal (1)

The ancient near eastern town of Emar/Imar was situated on the middle Euphrates in northwest Syria, about 100 km east of Aleppo. Due to its geographical situation connecting Mesopotamia with the Mediterranean coast and with Anatolia, the town had a strategic function. Already the earliest mentioning in writing, namely in the palace archives of Ebla, ca. 2500 BC, and especially in the Mari texts from the 18th century BC, point to the town's importance as traffic junction and contact zone between the Assyro-Babylonian and the Syro-Anatolian cultural spheres.

Contrary to its importance as a commercial center, Emar was never the center of a superregional power, but was rather awkwardly positioned between rivaling states.

Khaled Ibn alWalid Mosque (2)

The Ablaq Style

The mosque has a wide court of 3647square meters, and a number of porticos and arches built along the Ablaq style, that is alternative rows of white and black color stones which is the style of architecture of Homs since old times. In the eastern part of the court there are four rooms; one is assigned for ablution, the second is used as a museum of Islamic artifacts, while the other two rooms were specialized for students of Islamic sciences. The mosque has two slender minarets built of lime white stones and decorated with simple stalactites each of them is decorated with an ottoman cone. We entered through one of the two main gates, inlaid with mother of pearl,