Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Maarrat Al Numan - advance of the "dead city" of Syria

Small town Maarrat en Numan is 62 km north of Hama. At the moment it is not much noticeable, and is known mainly to the fact that close to him are the ruins of numerous Syrian ghost towns. In most cases, examination of these ruins begins from this point. It is worth to take a taxi for a ride through the neighborhood.
Despite the apparent unpresentable Maarat Al Numan has its own ancient history and very rich.

In ancient times the city was called Arra. At the beginning of our era it was inhabited by Arabs of the tribe taglib, which in 638 was passed it without a fight coming to Muslims. City received its name in honor of Nauman bin Bashir's teammate at the time of the Prophet Muhammad rule of Caliph Muawiya. Somewhere buried here a few companions prophet, including its standard-bearer Italla Ben Rabah.

Here lived and created the great Arab philosopher and poet Abu Ala al-Maarri. He was almost blind from birth, but lived a very long life (973-1057) leaving many of their works. "The message of pardon," al-Maarri inspired Dante to create a "Divine Comedy". Karl Marx called it "the Mohammedan freethinker"

In 1098 Maarrat en Nuaman after a prolonged assault was captured by the Crusaders, who killed almost all the inhabitants and razed it to the ground. True, this "Christ's soldiers" have not stopped and began to eat the body of citizens, which were littered all the streets of the city.

"In Maarre our soldiers boiled pagan adults in the boilers, the children they spit and ate like roast" Radulf Kaensky

Thus they have brought themselves and the town Maarat en Numan in the annals of history, entitled "Cannibalism in Maarate. As a result of this massacre was killed about 15,000 residents.

The city survived two Turkish caravanserai. One built Asaad Pasha Azem in 1782, he was not very interesting.
Inside this caravanserai was all overgrown with grass.

Another, Murad Pasha is more worthy of attention, it is one of the largest caravanserai in Syria (1563), but the important thing here is the city museum, where objects are collected from the surrounding Maarat Al Numan Dead Cities.

This is mainly mosaics and fragments of the tombs - sarcophagi, tombstones and stone door.

Mosaics are many, but most importantly and the best part of it was impossible to photograph - the local rangers track it with paranoid insistence. Had to confine ourselves to what was in the museum courtyard, where you can shoot.

Fragments of the facade of the ancient tombs of the village Babulin.

Clearly visible stone door vault. Such doors in Syria just "bulk", they are not only in every museum in tens, but just lying on the road, in whole or fragmented condition. You can imagine how many there used to be the tombs!

In the middle of the courtyard is the building Tekke, a small prayer hall.



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