A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Bosra al-qadima

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 8, 2007

A rather bland article that SANA published this weekend reminded me of my own adventure in Bosra, several summers ago.

The article is a bare-bones recapitulation of some rather obvious statements about Bosra, taken from a Kuwait News Agency report (which of course is not available on the KUNA website – the article was published Saturday, but KUNA posts end on Thursday):

Bosra al-Sham an evidence of the city’s great age

The ancient city of Bosra, about 73 miles south of
Damascus in the region of Huran, is a living evidence of the successive civilizations of B.C. and Islamic ages; Kuwaiti News Agency KUNA described the city of Bosra al-Sham Saturday.

 

The News Agency pointed out that the city was first mentioned in Tel al-Amarena tableaus which were discovered in Egypt and date back to the 14th Century B.C.

 

It also indicated that the ancient churches in the city date back to the Byzantine era and the mosques to early Islam.

 

The Agency stressed that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNNESCO listed the city of Bosra on the Global Heritage List in 1980.

Bosra’s significance in ancient times was recognized several decades ago, when UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site for its ancient role as capital of the Romans’ Arabian province.

It is a beautiful place, although more surrounded by signs of official- and tourist-dom than some of Syria’s other sites.

I visited Bosra three summers ago, with three Greeks. To me, it was magical; to those who had grown up with the Acropolis, it was merely one of the world’s lesser ruins.

One of the Greeks had studied archaeology in college, and was curious to know more about Bosra. He asked me to speak with one of the three young boys who found our wanderings more interesting than anything else on their to-do lists that afternoon.

M. asked me: can you find out what Bosra was called during Roman times?

I asked the oldest boy, who had earlier said that locals knew all about the site: “What was Bosra called back then?”

“Oh,” he replied, “it was called Bosra al-2adima” – “ancient Bosra”. I dutifully relayed this to M, and we shared a moment of deep wonder at the incredible time sense of the ancient Romans – including their awareness of their own anqituity.

Our visit’s larger purpose was to attend a free, open-air concert held in Bosra’s theatre. The concert was co-sponsored by the Syrian Ministry of Culture and the Italian government, and featured excellent musicians.

They were hard-pressed, however, to compete with the stunning surroundings – particularly as night fell and the theare’s columns were illuminated:

 

 

bosra-la-scala-concert.JPG

 

bosra-la-scala-concert-columns.JPG

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