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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Return to Palmyra

Available on The Getty Museum Web site

The poet Baudelaire wrote of the “lost jewels of ancient Palmyra,” but he wasn’t referring to gems. This wealthy and sophisticated city of long ago is located in Syria, 200 kilometers northeast of Damascus (a mere four hours by plane from Paris). So close and yet so far. The Greco-Roman archaeological remains of the city, rising like a mirage in the desert, were bombed in 2015 by ISIS. Why? Palmyra was an ancient place of freedom and nonconformity, a model of what we call multiculturalism. As the French archaeologist Paul Veyne writes in his book, Palmyra: An Irreplaceable Treasure, “Everything came together in Palmyra: Aram, Arabia, Persia, Syria, Hellenism, the Orient, the West.” This online exhibition takes you to Palmyra with maps, prints, period photographs, and more. —L.J.

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