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Palmyra Collection

History Archive - Palmyra Collection

An oasis in the Syrian desert, north-east of Damascus, Palmyra contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world. From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.

First mentioned in the archives of Mari in the 2nd millennium BC, Palmyra was an established caravan oasis when it came under Roman control in the mid-first century AD as part of the Roman province of Syria. It grew steadily in importance as a city on the trade route linking Persia, India and China with the Roman Empire, marking the crossroads of several civilisations in the ancient world.

A grand, colonnaded street of 1100 metres' length forms the monumental axis of the city, which together with secondary colonnaded cross streets links the major public monuments including the Temple of Ba'al, Diocletian's Camp, the Agora, Theatre, other temples and urban quarters. Architectural ornament including unique examples of funerary sculpture unites the forms of Greco-roman art with indigenous elements and Persian influences in a strongly original style. Outside the city's walls are remains of a Roman aqueduct and immense necropolises. Discovery of the ruined city by travellers in the 17th and 18th centuries resulted in its subsequent influence on architectural styles.

The city grew wealthy from trade caravans; the Palmyrenes became renowned as merchants who established colonies along the Silk Road and operated throughout the Roman Empire. Palmyra's wealth enabled the construction of monumental projects, such as the Great Colonnade, the Temple of Bel, and the distinctive tower tombs

Palmyrene Empire

The Palmyrene Empire was a short-lived splinter state of the Roman Empire resulting from the Crisis of the Third Century. Named after its capital and largest city, Palmyra, it encompassed the Roman provinces of Syria Palaestina, Arabia Petraea, and Egypt, as well as large parts of Asia Minor.

The Palmyrene Empire was ruled by Queen Zenobia, officially as regent for her son Vaballathus, who inherited the throne in 267 at age ten. In 270, Zenobia rapidly conquered most of the Roman east, attempting to maintain relations with Rome as a legitimate power. In 271 she claimed the imperial title for both herself and her son, fighting a short war with the Roman emperor Aurelian, who conquered Palmyra and captured the self-proclaimed Empress. A year later the Palmyrenes rebelled, which led Aurelian to destroy Palmyra.

Available Books

Book Title Date
Palmyra - From Damascus to Palmyra From Damascus to Palmyra 1908


Image Name
Underground Burial Vault, Palmyra. From a Photograph
Carving on Roof of Peristyle, Temple of Bacchus, Baalbek. From a Photograph
Great Mosque, Damascus
The First Landmark - Ancient Door-posts. From a Photograph
The Bika with the Shrine of Douris
Druze Village in the Lebanon
Kasr el Her. From a Photograph
Moslem Cemetery in the Meidan, Damascus
Group of Syrians
Outdoor Restaurant
Fallen Monolith, Palmyra
Entrance to Palmyra
Modern Homs. From a Photograph
Mosque, Damascus
Their Inhabitants. From a Photograph
The Serai, Palmyra. From a Photograph
Camels and Drivers outside Damascus
The Tekkiyeh, Damascus
Mosque of the Holy Flag, Damascus
Mt. Hermon from Damascus
The Roman Milestone. From a Photograph
The Small Temple, Baalbek. Exterior
Torso of the God of Wine, Palmyra. From a Photograph
Bab Tuma, Damascus
Return of the Haj from Mecca to Damascus
The Dervishiyeh Mosque, Damascus
The Temple of Jupiter, Baalbek, Another View
Tower of St. Paul, Damascus
Ma'alula. From a Photograph
Straight Street, Damascus
Guard House at Ain el Beda. From a Photograph
Camel Driver
The Temple of Bacchus, Baalbek, Interior
Arab Village inside the Court of the Temple of the Sun, Palmyra. From a Photograph
Seller of Water
Bust from Palmyrene Tomb. From a Photograph
Peepshow on the Orontes. From a Photograph
A Seller of Sweets, Damascus
Bridge over the Litany, Jisr el Kardeli
Cafe on the Barada, Damascus
House of Ananias, Damascus
The Small Temple, Baalbek
A Druze Bride
A Cedar of Lebanon
The Well of Asra. From a Photograph
Rocky Country behind Ma'alula. From a Photograph
A Cobbler, Damascus
Arab Encampment between Homs and Palmyra
Court of a Damascene House
The Pillar at El Kerasi. From a Photograph
Wusms on the Stones of Kasrel Her. From a Photograph
Temple of the King's Mother, Palmyra
Temple of the Sun, Palmyra, shewing Native Houses among the Columns. From a Photograph
Great Plantain in the Bazaar, Damascus
A Damascene Interior
Altars near Roman Road. From a Photograph
Egyptian Capital, Riblah. From a Photograph
An Armenian Girl
A Mortuary Tower, Palmyra
General View of the Colonnade, Palmyra
The Lake of Homs, Scene of Zenobia's Last Battle. From a Photograph
Interior of Private House, Damascus
Colonnade, Palmyra, with Druze Castle in the Distance
Colonnade, Palmyra, with Turkish Castle in the Distance
General View of the Acropolis, Baalbek
Wall of Damascus, Twilight Effect
Court of the House of Asad Pasha, Damascus
Front Cover
Damascus from Salehiyeh
Temple of the Sun, Palmyra
The Temple of Jupiter, Baalbek
At Salehiyeh
Mohammed Abdullah, Sheikh of Palmyra
In the Fruit Bazaar, Damascus
Maronite Girl of the Lebanon
Triumphal Arch, Palmyra
Back Cover
A Desert Road. From a Photograph
Site of the House of Naaman the Syrian, Damascus
Tomb of Saladin, Exterior
Mosque es Sinamiyeh, Damascus
Bab Sherki, Damascus
Bedouin Tents. From a Photograph
Street Fountain, Damascus
Riblah. From a Photograph
Prayer in the Desert. From a Photograph
Vine-pattern Carvings on Fallen Blocks, Palmyra. From a Photograph
At Beyrout
Stone Door, Palmyra. From a Photograph
Sketch Map of Route from Damascus to Palmyra
Beyrout, shewing Mount Sannin and the Lazaretto, Early Morning Light
Court of the Great Mosque, Damascus
Tomb of Saladin. Interior
The Quarries, Palmyra. From a Photograph
Temple of Venus, Baalbek
Solitary Column, Palmyra


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