Syria, which goes under the official name of the Syrian Arabic Republic, is a nation with a rich history that stretches back thousands of years. Sites like the city of Palmyra (a United Nations World Heritage Site), the St. Simon Church in Aleppo or many of the Roman ruins reflect this history. Most of Syria is covered by stony desert, and the entire desert is often referred to as the Syrian Desert, or Syrian-Arabic Desert. There are several specific sections of this desert that are named according to nearby landmarks, bodies of water or oases.
The Orontes Valley
The Orontes Valley is located in the western part of Syria, toward the north near Lebanon. The Orontes River runs through both nations, and the Syrian Desert comes right up to this valley. This region of the desert is considered one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world. There are many ruins here of the Amorites and Aramaeans, as well as dozens of city ruins from the Bronze and Iron ages that have been discovered but not even excavated yet. The Lake of Homs is one of the earliest artificial lakes, created around the second or third century BC. This section of the Syrian Desert attracts many archaeologists and adventure travelers who enjoy history.
Basalt Desert of South Syria
The Basalt Desert that runs through South Syria was carved from volcanic movements thousands of years ago. The desert has many distinctive black boulders and stones, and it extends into some of the most sparsely populated areas of Jordan and Iraq. In fact, this desert is called the Basalt Desert in Jordan and Iraq, but it is referred to as both the Basalt Desert (or area) and the Syrian Desert in Syria. This is is one of the least populated areas in all of the Middle East and is home mostly to nomadic herders.
Palmyra was long considered one of the most important cities in the entire Middle East. It is located in central Syria, near the very center of the country, and was once a thriving city because it was located in a major oasis surrounded by the Syrian Desert. Now these ruins are a landmark for an area of the Syrian Desert but attract visitors due to the nearly four square miles of ruins that include the remains of an ancient Temple to Ba'al, Roman columns, a necropolis and many other ruins that show the multiple influences from the city's history.
Article Written By Monty Dayton
Monty Dayton is a professional freelance writer who has worked for the ACLU, Touchstone Publishing LLC, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and many other employers. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska and loves writing about travel, the outdoors and health topics.