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On the Silk Road:
My memory of Homs of April 2011 is that of pleasant, busy town. The only sign of trouble was a checkpoint at the entrance where they searched my bicycle pouches for weapons. They did'nt notice my pepper spray that I carried as a defense against the big pursuing sheperd dogs. At that time I was not aware of the military barracks and the old soviet made tanks outside town. Curiously, there were few of the portraits of president Assad to be seen.

The picture was taken at the entrance of the old town and of a historical covered soukh (background right). To the left you may notice the entrance and a minaret of the al-Nouri mosque. It doesn't look it but the mosque is big and old (the geographer Al Idrisi wrote 1154 that is was one of the largest in Syria). The mosque is really a roman temple of the sun god El Gabal, transformed first into a byzantine church and later into a mosque ! The structures you can see from ash-Shouhada street are much more recent of course.

One of the Arab priests serving at the Heliogabal temple was the grandfather of a Roman emperor, Elagabal. The emperor introduced oriental ways of living and art to Rome, influencing western civilization forever (thank you, Wikipedia!).

Homs has always been of strategic importance on the crossroads of roads leading from North to South, from East to West. The chariot battle of nearby Qadesh took place between the forces of the Egyptian Empire under Ramesses II and the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II on the Orontes River. The kurdish prince of Homs built the Qa'alat al Hosni, known by the crusaders as Krak des chevaliers.

I post this picture as a sign of respect towards the many friendly people of Homs who have to endure an endless civil war today, whose only sin is to want a job and lead a normal life.

jhm, federico, Kofman ha puntuado esta nota como útil.

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Additional Photos by Dietrich Meyer (meyerd) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 106 W: 54 N: 651] (1628)
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