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May 13, 2002

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Can you believe Christianity once dominated Syria? Remnants of their old cities stand preserved, thousand year old ghost towns, in the Syrian countryside. We also visited an ancient Sumerian city, dating to 2000 BC, where archaelogists found the Sumerian written records on economics, administration, and dictionaries of ancient languages.
We visited four dead Byzantine cities, Serjilla, Al Bara, Jerada, and Ruweiha. Serjilla remained in the best condition. Inns, taverns, bath houses, and homes stand as they did during the Byzantine era over 1200 years ago. You can still see the Byzantine cross and other designs carved in stone relief over doorways.
Other countries might close off these archaelogical wonders and charge a high admission fee. Not Syria, they leave the site open to local shepherd families who use 1500 year old houses as sheep pens.
Climb ancient ruins with curious local onlookers.
An old pyramid tomb serves as a mid-afternoon tea house for this family of farmers.