The guard from the antiquities authority was asleep when I arrived at the Temple of Bel, deep in the Syrian desert. Not unreasonable, given that it was before visiting hours, maybe 5:30 a.m., and almost totally dark. A ribbon of purple on the horizon hinted at sunrise, and the war raging over there, in Iraq. But this was Syria, in 2005, and another day of the Assad family dictatorship was dawning in perfect order. European tourists were about to crawl over the ruins of Palmyra, and the biggest structure of all, a 2,000-year-old monument to an official god, was barely visible in front of me.… Seguir leyendo »
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