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A Traveller's Tales - A Journey to Damascus

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Alpha and Omega
Jan 21, 2021
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3 years of service

Mr Ross W Howard, "A Traveller's Tales - A Journey to Damascus"
English | 2011 | ISBN: 1461097355 | EPUB | pages: 144 | 0.2 mb

The journey encompasses travel in 2008 to Jordan, Syria and a short diversion to Beirut. This was through a region that has ostensibly achieved some form of social balance after periods of great uncertainty and conflict. However, as events unfold, they reveal an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the status quo and a desire for a more equitable balance between social freedom, honest governance and social order. Only time will tell whether the aspirations of the people are achieved.The narrative extends to the implications of events in 2011 surrounding the civil disobedience and violence across the Arab nations that led to the fall of the Egyptian and Tunisian dictatorships, the outbreak of civil war in Libya, growing demonstrations across Syria leading to the death of many civilians, and increasing, but lower level unrest in Jordan. In parallel was the prospective change of the balance of power in Lebanon and the prospect that the UN would soon announce the involvement of Syria and Hezbollah in the 2005 assassination of Rafiq Al-Hariri the then Prime Minister of Lebanon. The Jordanian leg of the journey commenced in Amman, with a side trip to the historic town of Salt and several Christian enclaves before heading south to Aqaba, the magnificent scenery of Wadi Rum, an area that come to the world's attention during the Arab campaigns against the Ottoman's and the involvement of "Lawrence of Arabia". Then it was Petra, the magnificent city of stone developed as the axis of important trading routes by the Nabateans in the late centuries BC. Thereafter the journey took in the crusader castle of Shobak Castle, Madaba Mosaic 'Map' that shows Jerusalem and parts of the Middle East as they were in the 6th Century. We gazed across to the Promised Land and Jericho from Mt Nebo, the claimed burial site of Moses and had a short uncomfortable swim in the Dead Sea before heading off to the impressive roman ruins of Jerash and the border with Syria. . The road to Damascus took us through Bosra and its massive fortified roman theatre and early memories of the Prophet Mohammed. The sites and experiences of Damascus were memorable, including the Grand Mosque with the head of John the Baptist, the Souq and the church of St Aananias where Paul of Tartus was baptised all of which added to our encounters with events and locations contained in the Bible. The road to the east took us through the desert and close to the Iraqi border before turning north to the oasis of Palmyra and its superb ruins that traverse a number of different dynasties over several millenia. Then it was to Krak des Chevaliers, the quintessential castle. You could only stand back and marvel at its brute structure as one of the most important preserved medieval military castles in the world. The stop in Hama was pretty brief, but the events of 1982, when the regime slaughtered between 20-40,000 men women and children, are still fresh in the town's memory. The roman remains of the ancient treasure city of Apamea were followed in quick succession by the magnificent mosaics in Maarat-al-Numan and then the eerie remains of the Dead City of Serjilla. Aleppo was an exciting place, due to the diversity of its people, the proximity of key sites and the great hustle and bustle. We visited the column atop of which St Simeon the last spent 37 years of his life, the Aleppo Citadel, the 40 Martyrs Armenian Church, the Citadel of Saladin and the Christian towns of Maloula and Seidnayya where we saw Christians and Muslims together in prayer. A quick dash to Beirut took us through a city landscape peppered with the signs of the sporadic civil war that has blighted the place for years. Scarred buildings, machine gun posts and the Shatila refugee camp, all beside the pristine blue sea, were memorable elements to the experience. Collectively this was one of those must do journeys to an area of deep character and diversity. It is a journey that must be taken.

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KatzSec DevOps

Alpha and Omega
Jan 17, 2022
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2 years of service
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