Palmyra in peril

As Islamic State militants seize the ancient city of Palmyra, putting its World Heritage site at risk of destruction, north east photographer James Sebright shares his images of Syria’s “jewel in the crown”.

I worked in Palmyra in 2010, on a personal assignment to gather images for stock libraries. Friends had told me that Syria was an “up and coming tourist destination” with a rich history and wonderful, friendly people and so I was keen to try and capitalise. I travelled around the country for three wonderful weeks, visiting sites of historical importance and meeting wonderful, warm, welcoming people. Palmyra was without doubt the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Syria’s many sites, a wonderfully preserved city with castles, boulevards and amphitheatres. I pray that it remains this way.

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To see more personal images taken from James’s journey, visit his website.

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2 thoughts on “Palmyra in peril

  1. I can only echo your comments. My family and I spent 3 weeks in Syria in 1994 when it was even more up and coming! We were living in Qatar at the time and spent the Easter holidays travelling from Danascus to Aleppo to Latakia, down the coast visiting all the amazing castles, then inland to Palmyra, where we were among a handful of visitors. It was amazing; vast and jaw-dropping. I remember climbing onto the funerary towers and taking photos of the kids there, as the sun was setting.
    The underground souk in Aleppo was amazing too , with its vaulted ceiling and hammams.
    I believe that has suffered tremendously at the hands of IS.
    You are right, the people are warm and welcoming, and watching their country and these wonderful sites being destroyed is tragic.
    Thanks for the fantastic photos and we join your prayers that this beautiful city will remain in tact.

  2. Rosie,
    Thanks for your comments and memories. I can only imagine what Syria was like in 1994. What a wonderful experience. I feel very lucky that was able to go there, it will be forever in my heart.

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