Friday, 7 November 2008

Syria #2

Further photos from my recent holiday in the, ahem, Axis of Evil.

This is the imposing gateway to the citadel at Aleppo. I don't think the Crusaders ever managed to sack this one, and you can see why.
The waterwheels at Hama - used since the 15th century for drawing water from the river to supply the city and fields.

This boulder is all that's left of the 18m high pillar of St Simeon Stylites, winner of the Hubristic Self-Mutilating Religious Knob-End Award for a record 36 years running in the 5th Century. He spent that time on top of his pillar because he wanted some privacy from his hordes of adoring fans, to be alone with God. Quite how that was compatible with being on public display 24 hrs a day, including while taking a dump, is beyond me. And he hated women - to the extent that he wouldn't even allow his mother to come see him in case he had distracting thoughts ... which says rather more about the contents of his mind than anything else.

But he had a nice view.

This is the famous Krac Des Chevaliers - Mr Ashbless was in 7th heaven!

This is an unflattering photo of me in an (intentionally) unflattering mosque-smock. Just call me Gandalf.

This is the courtyard of the Great Mosque in Damascus. Shiny.

Just in case you need to know, it is reputed to be the place Jesus will re-appear upon his Second Coming, and from here will lead the battle against the Anti-Christ. It is most famous for its beautiful gilded mosaics of trees and buildings all around the walls. Like this:

This is inside the mosque. The green glowing kiosk is the Shrine of the Head of St John the Baptist.

This is the Damascus souk by night - note the old Roman archway. The souk in Damascus is a pleasure to walk around - not alarmingly labyrinthine or medieval in feel (try Fez for that) but relaxed and urbane and interesting.

Next: over the border into Jordan...

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