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


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