Last night I was mesmerized as I watched an episode of Globe Trekker about Syria. It’s not someplace I knew anything about apart from the fact it’s someplace in the Middle East. (I’d have been hard-pressed to even show you where it was on a map.)
I still don’t know much about it, but I did learn a little something watching last night’s episode:
- Syria’s big on soap operas and they’re very popular over there. (They have their own soap opera industry. I’m not talking about the ones our networks broadcast.)
- Regardless of the concept Western media would like to sell us of all Middle Eastern countries swarming with anti-American terrorists, the people of Syria seemed incredibly warm and hospitable.
- If the video of the land is accurate…wow! Talk about a place rich in beauty.
- OMG! I didn’t understand all the history over there. Truly ancient. They mark timelines by millennia, not just hundreds of years.
- They have these abandoned cities (like over 700 of them) known as Dead Cities, which are sort of the equivalent of some ghost towns we have in the States. (Just theirs are much, much older and comprise some of the oldest Christian ruins in the world.)
The Dead Cities are located in northern Syria. Globe Trekker guide Holly Morris set out on a day trip from Aleppo to investigate them.
She explained many of the Dead Cities were abandoned over 1,500 years ago when Islam conquered the Byzantine world and Syria’s center shifted from Antioch to Damascus, and with it so did the trade routes. Olive oil and wine were the primary products traded in the region.
I found the following clips of the Dead Cities on YouTube that are wonderful. Peter Marshall provides an informative narrative on the history of the Dead Cities while his footage gives a great glimpse at these beautiful, old abandoned towns and villages. (As well as the routes to reach them. And of the sheep. He likes the sheep!)
Of course, I couldn’t help but wonder if spirits inhabit the ruins and if there are any ghost stories surrounding them. A quick check turned up nothing significant, but this is something I’d like to keep an eye out for.
If you have any information about ghost stories in Syria’s Dead Cities, I’d love to hear it!