Palmyra

Palmyra, an oasis in the Syrian desert, north-east of Damascus, is a ruined city and a story teller of the magnificant past, it enjoyed. Palmyra experienced different people and rulers and now, contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world, dating back to the Neolithic period, the city was first documented in the early second millennium BC.

Age

according to the stone tools found at the site, Palmyra dates back to 7500 BC and soem findings suggest that the site had been inhabited from 2300 BC.

Rulers

Out of many rulers, the most famous rulers of Palmyra were Romans, who controlled the command of the city in the first century AD.

Palmyrenes

The people here, were renowned merchants with the links, reaching as far as the Silk road. The wealth earned by the city, was used in the construction of monumental projects, such as the Great Colonnade, the Temple of Bel, and the distinctive tower tombs.

People and Language.

The Palmyrenes were not from the same caste or clan but they were the mixture of Amorites, Armeans and Arabs but still, the locally spoken language was Palmyrene (an Armaic dialect). Whereas, Greek was used for the diplomatic and commercial use.

Culture

It was an interesting combination of different cultures. Primarily, the culture had an influence of the both, Greek and Romans so a very distinctive and an amazing eastern plus western architecture was produced as a result.

Attacks and Aftermaths

Palmyra also followed the old tradition of wars, and came under the attacks, several times. The Persians were defeated by the Palmyrenes but after this defeat, the Romans faced a setback from the new Persian government. But, a more interesting change came in the 4th century, when Palmyra became Christian and in the Second Half of the 1st millennium, Palmyra converted to Islam and Arabic replaced Greek languages.

Name

The first known native name of the city was a Sematic language term ‘Tadmor”, appeared in 2nd millennium BC which, according to the philologist Albert Schultens, is derived from the Semitic word for “dates” (tamar), thus referring to the palm trees that surrounded the city.
However, the name “Palmyra” appeared during the early first century AD in the works of Pliny the Elder, and was used throughout the Graeco-Roman world.

Education

The academic activities are subject to doubt, as Palmyra had no large libraries or publishing facilities, and there is only one notable scholar documented, Cassius Longinus.

Buildings

Cemeteries

West of the ancient walls, the Palmyrenes built a number of large-scale funerary monuments near Valley of Tombs, whereas the tombs were basically built, underground.

cemetery

Senate

This building has largely ruined and is left with a very small size with a courtyard .

senate

Baths Diocletian

Much of the Baths of Diocletian are ruined and do not survive above the level of the foundations. The outline of a bathing pool surrounded by a colonnade of Corinthian columns is still visible in addition to an octagonal room that served as a dressing room containing a drain in its center.

bath

Agora

The agora is a massive, 71 by 84 metre structure with 11 entrances. Inside the agora, 200 columnar bases that used to hold statues of prominent citizens were found. The agora was huge but it resembled an Eastern caravanserai more than a hub of public life rather than a Greek Agora.

agora

Tarrif Court

The Tariff Court is a large rectangular enclosure south of the agora and sharing its northern wall with it. The court gained its name by containing a 5 meters long stone slab that had the Palmyrene tax law inscribed on it.

tarriff court

Temples

The Temple of Bel

It was dedicated in 32 AD. It had a rectangular shape and was oriented north-south. The exterior wall was 205-metre long with a propylaea, and the cella stood on a podium in the middle of the enclosure.

temple of bell

The Temple of Baalshamin

It dates to the late 2nd century BC in its earliest phases.The temple is consisted of a central cella and two colonnaded courtyards north and south of the central structure.

Temple of Baalshamin

The Temple of Nabu

The temple was Eastern in its plan but now, it has been largely ruined.

temple of nabu

The Temple of Al-lāt

Like the others, this temple is also ruined heavily and is left only with; a podium, a few columns and the door frame. Inside the compound, a giant lion relief (Lion of Al-lāt) was excavated and in its original form, was a relief protruding from the temple compound’s wall.

lion of al lat

Temple of Baal-hamon

It was located on the top of Jabal al-Muntar hill which oversees the spring of Efqa. The temple had a defensive tower attached to it; a mosaic depicting the sanctuary was excavated and it revealed that both the cella and the vestibule were decorated with merlons.

temple of baal

The Great Colonnade

It was Palmyra’s 1.1-kilometre-long main street; most of the columns date to the second century AD and each is 9.50 metres high.

The Arch of Triumph, seen here intact, in the eastern section of Palmyra's colonnade, was destroyed by Islamic State in August 2015. Work on the eastern section began in 175 AD and continued into the early 3rd century. REUTERS/Sandra Auger
The Funerary Temple no.86

It is also known as the House Tomb, is located at the western end of the Great Colonnade.It was built in the third century AD and has a portico of six columns and vine patterns carvings. The shrine might have been connected to the royal family as it is the only tomb inside the city’s walls.

funeral temple

The Tetrapylon

It was erected during the renovations of Diocletian at the end of the third century. It is a square platform and each corner contains a grouping of four columns.

tetrapylon

Walls

The city’s current walls were erected during the reign of Diocletian whose fortification of the city enclosed a much smaller area than the original pre-273 city.The Diocletianic walls had protective towers and fortified gateways.
The pre-273 walls were narrow and while encircling the whole city, they do not seem to have provided real protection against an invasion.

Religion

Polytheism was practiced in Palmyra as the people of Palmyra worshiped many gods and goddesses from Mesopotamia, Syria, Arabia and Greece. They built a series of temples and large monuments containing funerary art, or art representing the dead.

Excavation
  • It was a long forgotten site till 20th century and finally received her first excavations in 1902 by Otto Puchstein and in 1917 by Theodor Wiegand. In 1929, French general director of antiquities of Syria and Lebanon Henri Arnold Seyrig began large-scale excavation of the site.
  • Seyrig started with the Temple of Bel in 1929 and between 1939 and 1940 he excavated the Agora.
  • From 1954 to 1956, a Swiss expedition organized by UNESCO excavated the Temple of Baalshamin.
  • Since 1958, the site has been excavated by the Syrian Directorate-General of Antiquities,and Polish expeditions led by many archaeologists including Kazimierz Michałowski (until 1980) and Michael Gawlikowski (until 2011). The Polish expedition concentrated its work in the Camp of Diocletian while the Syrian Directorate-General of Antiquities excavated the Temple of Nabu.
  • Most of the hypogea were excavated jointly by the Polish expedition and the Syrian Directorate.
  • The area of Efqa was excavated by Jean Starcky and Jafar al-Hassani.
  • The Temple of Baal-hamon was discovered by Robert du Mesnil du Buisson in the 1970s.
  • The Palmyrene irrigation system was discovered in 2008 by Jørgen Christian Meyer who researched the Palmyrene countryside through ground inspections and satellite images.
UNESCO

In 1980, the historic site including the necropolis outside the walls was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.

Theft

In November 2010 the Austrian media manager Helmut Thoma admitted looting a Palmyrene grave in 1980, stealing architectural pieces for his home.

Destruction by ISIL

The militants of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), on May 23, 2015 the militants destroyed the Lion of Al-lāt and other statues. The militant group destroyed the Temple of Baalshamin on 23 August 2015 according to Abdulkarim and activists, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that the destruction took place one month earlier.
On 31 August 2015, the United Nations confirmed the temple was destroyed. ISIL destroyed three of the best preserved tower tombs including the Tower of Elahbel.

The Monumental Arch today. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

Referring to the building as a 'pagan temple', Islamic State members detonated explosives around the interior and exterior of the structure. Damage to the temple was extensive, with most of the stones shattered to pieces by the explosives. REUTERS/Social Media

The remains of the Temple of Bel today. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
The city lost its importance after the 16th century. It was fully abandoned by 1929, during the Ottoman Empire. There is a new town of the same name nearby to the south of the ruins. However, most of Palmyra still remains unexplored especially the residential quarters in the north and south while the necropolis has been thoroughly excavated by the Directorate and the Polish expedition. Excavation expeditions left Palmyra in 2011 due to the Syrian Civil War but we can hopefully hope for a better future of this amazing site.

Bluefish Caves

Bluefish Caves is an archaeological site in Yukon, Canada. Bluefish Cave was initially known to the local First Nations, but was popularized by a fishing expedition in 1976, and later by researchers.

The Caves

Bluefish Caves contain the oldest undisturbed archaeological evidence in Canada, having three caves. The caves contain various animal bones that appeared to have been dragged there by predators, but findings of tool marks and some tools themselves point to a human presence. Not only this, but there have been found the bones of many animals which strengthens the belief that the human existed there.

Findings

Excavations at the site have uncovered stone and bone tools as well as butchered animal remains.

Stone tools

The stone tools include micro blades, burins, and wedge-shaped cores, all made of imported high-quality stone. Thousands of tiny flakes, the remains of tool-making, were also found. These artifacts were found in context with the bones of extinct horse species, suggesting an occupation before 10,000 years ago. Further excavations uncovered material dated to between 15,000 and 12,000 years ago.

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Debate

It had been argued that the bones found, were the result of the attacks carried out by carnivores but later on, butchered bones were found which helped the archaeologists who believed in human presence. Even then some say that the cut marks on the bone objects could have been caused by natural events such as rock falls or carnivore gnawing, rather than by human actions. The stone tools were definitely created by humans, but could not be dated and so cannot provide evidence that humans were at the site 25,000 years ago. So, it’s still a topic of debate.
There has been a debate on the age of the site as some archaeologists don’t seem to get agree that the site is too old despite a growing acceptance in the scientific community of sites dated somewhat earlier than Clovis, such as Monte Verde in Chile at 14,500 years before present, evidence such as that from the Bluefish Caves area indicating much more ancient dates remains controversial and unaccepted by mainstream archaeology.
Recently another team has discovered allegedly human-worked mammoth bone flakes in the Bluefish Caves area, radiocarbon dated to an even earlier period of 40,000 years before present.

Tulor

Tulor is located in the region of Antofagasta. The distance from Tulor to Chile’s capital Santiago (Santiago) is approximately 1,186 km and the site is also known as the archaeological capital of Chile.

Preservation

In 2009, the Chilean government initiated a project for the creation of a preservation plan for the ancient village. Protective caps were installed to guard the ancient earthen walls against erosion. Unfortunately, the site was vandalized in April 2010. According to Chile’s Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales, this was the worst damage to the site in decades. In November 2010 the office of CONAF at Tulor was set on fire.

Discovery

Father Gustavo el Paige, is the discoverer of Tulor.

Settlement

The city was occupied by 800BC, and at its peak had several hundred inhabitants. There are few artifacts on hand at the site, but photographers will find the enigmatic earthworks a tempting subject, particularly in the morning or late afternoon.

Findings

Tulor’s discovery consist of many items including:-

Boreholes

Boreholes are the circular walls made out of clay, dug into the earth to find water.

Tulor-6

Honeycomb

A human-sized honeycomb of square and circular adobe structures

How Did It End

The stratigraphy helped in finding out why the population disappeared ,which was not due by climatic changes but to an increase in drought. On site they found lithic, human bones, animal bones, ceramic, carbon, and seashells buried in the ground which somehow confirms the manner of end.

Settled 2,500 years ago and located in an ancient oasis once supported by the San Pedro River, Tulor Village is the most important of a suite of ancient villages in the Atacama Desert. The site, which has numerous circular adobe structures surrounded by a perimeter wall, was abandoned ca. a.d. 300 when the oasis dried up and dunes advanced. Since 1998 the site has been managed as an Eco-tourism destination, yet little has been done to preserve Tulor, resulting in damage to the archaeological remains through erosion, sand encroachment, and lack of maintenance.

 

 

 

Timgad

Timgad was a Roman colonial town in modern day North African country, Algeria, founded by the Emperor Trajan around AD 100. The full name of the town was Colonia Marciana Ulpia Traiana Thamugadi. Trajan commemorated the city after his mother Marcia, eldest sister Ulpia Marciana, and father Marcus Ulpius Traianus. The site is one of the best example of the Roman grid planning and most interestingly, the plan is extant till date/

Purpose

The settlement of Timgad, then known as Thamugas, if called, a garrison would not be wrong as it was built as a military colony by the emperor Trajan as it was built as a military colony to function as a bastion against the Berbers in the nearby Aures Mountains

Inhabitants and Planning

The African people, who would serve in the Roman army, for twenty-five years, would have a home in the base. An interesting point to note about the ruins of Timgad is that all of the homes built there were similar in size, a sign of equality amongst Rome’s citizens. The original settlement was a perfect square, spanning an area measuring 355 square metres, residing almost 15.000 residents but the city soon outgrew the number and for the next 300 years, kept on growing.

Construction

Timgad has versatile typologies, representing the different stages which it went through as it was built in intervals and went under restorations at different stages during the reign of the empire. As the Trajan Arch was built in mid 2nd century, the Eastern gate in 146, and the Western gate under Marcus-Aurelius. While, the streets were with large rectangular limestone slabs and, as attested by the 14 baths which still may be seen today, particular attention was paid to the disposition of public conveniences

Excavation

The city was forgotten until it was excavated from under the sand in 1881 by French archaeologists.

Nick Name

Timgad is sometimes called the Pompeii of North Africa because of the extensive remains of the Roman city founded here.

UNESCO

The importance of the site can be felt by a fact that since 1982, Timgad has been a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Visit

Spring is the best time to visit the ruins as Algeria is a very hot place to be in.

That’s living

Archaeologists who unearthed Timgad’s remains were amused by a Latin inscription found at the forum. It reads: “Hunting, bathing, playing, laughing—that’s living!”

index

 Donatist

On the western side of Timgad are the ruins of an impressive basilica with a baptistery, or baptism pool. This is a silent reminder that by the fourth century C.E., the city had become a stronghold of the Donatists—a “Christian” group that broke with the Roman church. The Donatists did not approve of the interference of Roman emperors in church affairs. They saw themselves as a ‘pure church,’ separated from the world.

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What to See

Timgad doesn’t appeal the visitors just due to its grid plan but there is too much more to see like:-

Theatre

A magnificent entertainment sire of Timgad was a 3,500-capacity theatre.

aures-timgad-theatre-vue

Bath Complex

A series of fourteen bath complexes are yet another example of a good sense of Roman town planning.

bath

Library

The Library at Timgad was a gift to the Roman people by Julius Quintianus Flavius Rogatianus. Its architect and design is not, what makes it special but it is of a great historical importance as it shows the presence of a fully developed library system in this Roman city, indicating a high standard of learning and culture.

00 Intro pic

Arch of Trajan

This arch was built in 114 A.D. to commemorate the completion of the Via Trianna, but, more importantly, served the great purpose of glorifying the emperor, Trajan. One of the most common themes found on the arch is the Roman Empire’s need to expand.  Almost all of the reliefs were tied into the concept of how the Roman Empire would continue to grow to encompass all of Italy, and eventually the Mediterranean.

arch

Pantheon

A temple has been found at the site of ruins, dedicated to Jupiter that is of approximately the same dimensions as the Pantheon in Rome.

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End, Resurrection and End

Timgad was destroyed in 430 as a result of Vandal invasion but the city took a new breath in the 6th century under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian as a fortress was built outside the original town and many blocks from earlier Roman buildings were reused but the city fell to an Arab invasion in the 7th century and was finally abandoned by the 8th century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volubilis

Volubilis, one of the finest sites to visit in Morocco, is one also one of the largest ancient ruins in Africa. The city is a partly excavated Berber and Roman city in Morocco situated near Meknas between Fes and Rabat and commonly considered as the ancient capital of the kingdom of Mauretania, founded in 3rd century B.C but the city developed from an Amazigh, then proto-Carthaginian, settlement before being the capital of the kingdom of Mauretania. The city gained a number of major public buildings in the 2nd century, including a basilica, temple and triumphal arch. Its prosperity, which was derived principally from olive growing, prompted the construction of many fine town-houses with large mosaic floors.
Most interestingly, the city remained inhabited for several hundred years even after the fall of Romans. Firstly, by the christians, then Awraba; a berber tribe and later on by the Muslim Idrisid dynasty.

Excavation

The major contribution in its excavation is from French, during their rule over French Morocco between 1912 and 1956, but the excavations at the site began decades earlier. From 1830, when the French conquest of Algeria, began the process of extending French rule over much of northern, western and central Africa, archaeology was closely associated with French colonialism. However, the first excavations at Volubilis were carried out by the French archaeologist Henri de la Martinière between 1887 and 1892.

Area

Prior to the Roman occupation, Volubilis covered an area of about 30 acres but under the Romans, the city was expanded considerably on a northeast-southwest axis, increasing in size to about 42 hectares (100 acres).

Planning

The city was supplied with water by an aqueduct that ran from a spring in the hills behind the city. The aqueduct may have been constructed around 60–80 AD and was subsequently reconstructed on several occasions. An elaborate network of channels fed houses and the public baths from the municipal supply and a series of drains carried sewage and waste away to the river to be flushed.

Walls

The Roman city walls stretch for 2.6 km (1.6 mi) and are average 1.6 m (5.2 ft) thick. Built of rubble masonry and ashlar, they are mostly still extant. The full circuit of walls had 34 towers, spaced at intervals of about one every 50 metres (160 ft), and six main gates that were flanked by towers. A part of the eastern wall has been reconstructed to a height of 1.5 metres (4.9 ft).
An early medieval wall stands to the west of the Arch of Caracalla; it was built after the end of the Roman occupation, apparently somewhere between the 5th or 6th centuries, to protect the eastern side of the city’s new residential area. It was oriented in a north-south direction and was constructed using stones looted from ruined buildings elsewhere in the abandoned areas of the city.

Business

Olive was the backbone of the commerce in Volubilis as it was used to be a major producer of olive oil. The remains of buildings dedicated to olive pressing are still readily visible, as are the remains of the original presses and olive mills. Olive oil was central to the life of the city, as it was not just a foodstuff but was also used for lamps, bathing and medicines, while the pressed olives were fed to animals or dried out and used as fuel for the bathhouses.
There is also substantial evidence of the city being a lively commercial centre. No fewer than 121 shops have been identified so far, many of them bakeries, and judging from the number of bronzes found at the site it may also have been a centre for the production or distribution of bronze artworks.

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Buildings

Although only about half of Volubilis has been excavated, a number of prominent public buildings are still visible and some, notably a Basilica and a Triumphal arch, have been reconstructed. The buildings were mostly made from locally quarried grey-blue limestone and a large tumulus of an uncertain origin and purpose stands approximately in the middle of the excavated area, between the old and new parts of the city. Various theories have been advanced to explain it, such as that it was a burial site, a religious structure of some kind, a funerary monument or a monument to a Roman victory.

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Houses to See

There are mainly three houses to visit: the “House of the Euphebus” right next to the triumphal arch; the “House of Orpheus”; one of the richest men at the time of Roman rule,  to the south near the olive oil presses; and the “House of Dionysus” near the Decumanus Maximus (main street).

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Public buildings

Two major public buildings are readily visible at the centre of the city; the Basilica and the Capitoline Temple. The basilica was used for the administration of justice and the governance of the city and is one of the finest Roman basilicas in Africa. Its building is 42.2 m (138 ft) long by 22.3 m (73 ft) wide and was a two-storey building.
Nevertheless, not much is known about the public buildings which existed in Volubilis, prior to the start of the 3rd century, as the buildings currently visible were built on the foundations of earlier structures.
Furthermore, the Capitoline Temple stands behind the basilica within what would originally have been an arcaded courtyard is the building which was of great importance to civic life as it was dedicated to the three chief divinities of the Roman state, Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. Civic assemblies were held in front of the temple to beseech the aid of the gods or to thank them for successes in major civic undertakings such as fighting wars.
Volubilis also possessed at least three sets of public baths. Some mosaics can still be seen in the Baths of Gallienus, redecorated by that emperor in the 260s to become the city’s most lavish baths. The nearby north baths were the largest in the city, covering an area of about 1,500 m2 (16,000 sq ft). They were possibly built in the time of Hadrain.

ct Volubilis-basilica

Triumphal Arch

The Arch of Caracalla is one of Volubilis’ most distinctive sights, situated at the end of the city’s main street, the Decumanus Maximus. The arch is constructed from local stone and was originally topped by a bronze chariot pulled by six horses. The inscription on the arch reads:-

For the emperor Caesar, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus [Caracalla], the pious, fortunate Augustus, greatest victor in Parthia, greatest victor in Britain, greatest victor in Germany, Pontifex Maximus, holding tribunician power for the twentieth time, Emperor for the fourth time, Consul for the fourth time, Father of the Country, Proconsul, and for Julia Augusta, the pious, fortunate mother of the camp and the Senate and the country, because of his exceptional and new kindness towards all, which is greater than that of the principes that came before, the Republic of the Volubilitans took care to have this arch made from the ground up, including a chariot drawn by six horses and all the ornaments, with Marcus Aurelius Sebastenus, procurator, who is most deeply devoted to the divinity of Augustus, initiating and dedicating it.

Volubilis_Triumphal_Arch

Restorations

Soon after the WWII, the excavations were resumed under the French and Moroccan authorities restoring several antiquities like, The Arch of Caracalla in 1930–34, the Capitoline Temple in 1962, the basilica in 1965–67 and the Tingis Gate in 1967. Apart from these, a number of mosaics and houses underwent conservation and restoration in 1952–55.

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Display

Today, many artefacts found at Volubilis can be seen on display in the Rabat Archaeological Museum.

ICOMOS

Another prominent feature in the bucket of Volubilis is that, in the 1980s, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) organised three conferences to assess possible nominations to the World Heritage List for sites in North Africa. It was unanimously agreed that Volubilis was a good candidate for the list and in 1997 ICOMOS recommended that it be inscribed as “an exceptionally well preserved example of a large Roman colonial town on the fringes of the Empire”, which UNESCO accepted.

UNESCO

Volubilis made all the way into the list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.

Tourism

Both, foreign and Moroccan tourists travel to Volubilis to explore the site’s great historical significance. The Fes Festival of Sacred World Music, which takes place each June, features an annual concert at Volubilis held within the ancient Roman ruins. Moreover, the main area of Volubilis, and the only area that really attracts visitors, Moroccans and foreigners, is no more than 800 x 600 metres (measured by the walls). And if you carry a good guide book, none of the guides at the gate is needed. Much of the best excavations have been moved to the Archaeological Museum close to the royal palace in Rabat, but Volubilis offers ruins of quite good quality, and about 30 high quality mosaics that still stand in their original place.

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Admission Fee

There is an admission fee for entering the Volubilis of about 20 Moroccan Dirhams.

The site has produced a substantial amount of artistic material, including mosaics, marble and bronze statuary, and hundreds of inscriptions. Not only this but this site is also an outstanding example of an archaeological and architectural complex and of a cultural landscape bearing witness to many cultures (Libyco-Berber and Mauritanian, Roman, Christian and Arabo-Islamic) of which several have disappeared. Fortunately, the town remained abandoned for many centuries so the ruins remained in an excellent state of conservation and therefore it is an evergreen and worth seeing site which provides you a whole package of fun.

 

Rehman Dheri

Out of many others, Rehman Dheri is one of the finest and the oldest sites of South Asia in Pakistan with and urbanized planning. Rehman Dheri is a pre-Harappan site, dating back to 4000BC. The site is situated 22km north of Dera Ismail Khan in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The site is really adorable and the wall surrounding the whole inhabited area of the town except for the southern side increases the aesthetics of its.
The low mound of the town gets rectangular in shape due to the grid iron network of paths and boulevard

Exploration

Professor Ahmad Hassan Dani, in 1971 explored the site for the first time.

Excavation

Professor Farzand Ali Durrani, from 1976 to 1982 carried out excavations and later on, he published a detailed report about the site as well.  Another name also circulates regarding the excavation work at the site, Dr Ihsan Ali.

Exploration

Professor Ahmad Hassan Dani, in 1971 explored the site for the first time.

Building

Rehman Dehri has been classified into different periods the first period was from c.3300-3850 BC, the second period was from c.2850-2500 BC and the last one was from c.2500-1900 BC.
The formal planning of the site is believed to have been made during the earliest phase and the planning got stimulated over time.

Achievement

The site got the eyes of the archaeologists and the UNESCO and became a strong contestant to get a place, in the World Heritage List but, nevertheless it has been in the tentative list since 2004.

Confusion

The stuff found at the site suggests that, either the people of the area were well civilized or the area had different aspects and to get it confirmed, the archaeologists decided to complete the scientific mapping of the site after sending its samples to laboratories in the US for further study.

Similarity

The salient feature of the Indus valley civilization like grid iron pattern town planning uniformed trade network, pictographic/ideographic writing system seals and sailings mass production of ceramic technology have been found in the early and proto form in Rehman Dheri.Stepping Stone

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Stepping Stone

5000 years old wheat and barley traces have been found at the site indicate that there is still too much to be known. As we can hope to know about the life style, food and other activities of the people if we get some more remains of this kind.

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End

The site is believed to be abandoned during the 3rd millennium BC, at the beginning of the mature Indus phase. Although the site doesn’t have too much to appeal the people currently, as the other sites like Moen-Jo-Daro do but the items found and the work carried out by the archaeologists, advocate that the site has been hiding too much beneath it and once it is explored, there would a plenty of reasons to visit the site with an urge to pay a visit once again, on return.

Derinkuyu Underground City

Derinkuyu Underground

Derinkuyu Underground City is one of several underground cities in the Cappadocia region of Turkey.

Depth

The city extends to a depth of approximately 60m

Habitation

The city was large enough to shelter approximately 20,000 people together with their livestock and food stores while some sources claim that it could held around 50,000 people

Significance

It is the largest excavated underground city in Turkey

Facts

It was opened to visitors in 1969 and to date.

On the 2nd floor, is a spacious room which is considered to be the religious school and the rooms to the left were studies.

Religious School

Ventilation shafts bring air from above and roughly 15,000 smaller shafts distribute that air throughout the city.

180ft Shaft

Derinkuyu underground city has 11 levels.

The city also has numerous wells to provide fresh water.

Visitors can’t have access to all floors

No go area

Between the 3rd and 4th levels is a vertical staircase. This passage way leads to a cruciform church.

Passage leading to cruciform church

Discovery

Derinkuyu Underground City was discovered in 1963, when a cave was found during renovation of a house.

Built

The most accurate dating suggests that the city was constructed in between 1,000 and 800 B.C.E.

Builders

Hittites are said to be the earliest builders built it in the 15th century BC

Some theories claim Phrygians, to be the builders of this city.

One more theory says, it was built by the Persian King Yima who was ordered to build it by the god Ahura Mazda to protect his people from an ice age

Precautions

The ancient Derinkuyu underground city is not a place to visit if you suffer from claustrophobia, an irrational fear of having no escape or being closed or high blood pressure as walking down the flight of stairs in the Derinkuyu City sometimes becomes so cramped that you begin to lower your head and feel suffocated by the lack of space.

Description

The city was big and complex but there was a general layout to it. Animals were crowded into the top level of the city; the kitchens were placed on the next level, domestic living rooms on the next level after that and so forth.
The citizens that built the Derinkuyu underground city thought of everything. This city was not intended for permanent living however it could be months that they stayed in there until it was safe to go back up.

Doors

The underground city at Derinkuyu could be closed from the inside with large circular stone doors. Each floor could be closed off separately.

Circular door

City Had

Winery
Winery derinkuyu
Stables
Stables with feeders
Cellars
Cellar
Storage rooms
Storage room
Chapels

Chapel

Great Mosque of Kairouan

View of Mosque of Uqba

The Great Mosque of Kairouan, also known as the Mosque of Uqba is one of the most important mosques in Tunisia, situated in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Kairouan

Builder

Established by the Arab general Uqba Ibn Nafy (R.z) in 670 AD

Area

The mosque is spread over a surface area of 9,000 square meters

Significance

It is one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world, as well as a model for all later mosques in the West as well as it’s one of the most impressive and largest Islamic monuments in North Africa.

Current Sight

The view of the Mosque that we experience today is a result of renovation and work under the Aghlabids, an Arab dynasty.

Do you know?

Around 690, shortly after its construction, the mosque was destroyed during the occupation of Kairouan by the Berbers, originally conducted by Kuala, a 7th-century leader of the Awraba tribe of the Berber people and Christian head of the Sanhadja confederation.

Enclosure

The Great Mosque of Kairouan’s enclosure is pierced by 9 gates (six opening on the courtyard, two opening on the prayer hall and the ninth allows access to the Maqsura, an enclosure in a Mosque, situated near the Mihrab and Minbar

carved_door_of_mosqueMaqsura

Minaret

The minaret, which occupies the center of the northern facade of the complex’s enclosure, is 31.5m tall and is seated on a square base of 10.7m on each side. The interior of the minaret includes a staircase of 129 steps. It’s one of the world’s oldest surviving minarets, dating back to 8th-9th century.

Minaret

Dome

The Mosque has several domes, the largest being over the Mihrab and the entrance to the prayer hall from the courtyard and it is one of the oldest and most remarkable domes in the western Islamic world

Dome of Mosque of Uqba

Prayer hall

The prayer hall is located on the southern side of the courtyard; and is accessed by 17 carved wooden doors.
In the prayer there are 414 columns (among more than 500 columns in the whole mosque)

Prayer hall of Mosque of Uqba

Mihrab

It indicates the Qibla (direction of Mecca), is formed by an oven-shaped niche framed by 2 marble columns and topped by a painted wooden half-cupola. The niche dates in its present state to 862863 AD.

Mihrab

Facts

The exterior of the Great Mosque of Kairouan has buttressed walls which are the typically Aghlabid design

Exterior view of Mosque of Uqba

Muslims can enter the mosque through 9 different gates; non-Muslim visitors use the main gate and must be appropriately dressed; robes are available at the entrance for those who are not.

On the north side of the courtyard is a massive, 3 story minaret that rises 115ft high.

The lowest level of the minaret dates from 728 and includes two reused Roman slabs with Latin inscriptions (one upside down).

Non-Muslims are not allowed inside, but the doors are left open to allow glimpses of the interior

 

 

Nanchan Temple

View of Nanchan Temple

Nanchan Temple is a Buddhist temple located in Shanxi Province of China.

Built

The Nanchan Temple was built in 782CE during China’s Tang Dynasty

Significance

The Great Buddha Hall of Nanchan Temple is a prayer hall that has been preserved in the temple, is currently China’s oldest preserved timber building extant, as wooden buildings are often prone to fire and various destructions.

Hall of Buddha

Chi-Wei

The ornaments that curled towards each other at the main roof ridge are called Chi-wei (Owl’s tail) referring to a sea monster who was believed to be the son of The Dragon King, whose duty is to protect against fire.

Chi wei

Do you know?

We came to know the building date of the temple by an inscription on one of the beam

Due to its deserted location, it escaped destruction during the Buddhist purges of 845.

In the 1950s, the building was rediscovered by architectural historians.

In 1961, it was recognized as China’s oldest standing timber-frame building and a National preserved site in China

Inscription

In 1966, the building was damaged in an earthquake

During the renovation period in the 1970s, historians got a chance to study the building piece by piece.

Restoration Work

There is a 8.4m lengthy and 6.3m wide Buddha’s altar in the main hall of the Nanchan Temple

Hall of Buddha’s roof is supported by12 pillars that are implanted directly into a brick foundation.

pillars

Sculptures

The Hall of the Buddha contains 17 statues that are lined up on an inverted U-shaped dais.

Tang's sculptures

The largest statue is of Sakyamuni (Buddha), placed in the center of the hall sitting cross-legged on a Sumeru throne adorned with sculpted images of a lion and demigod.

Statue of Buddha

Bells

Little brass bells hanged at each edge of the roof eaves.

bell

Pagoda

The Great Buddha Hall also contains 1 small carved stone pagoda that is 5 levels high.

The 1st level is carved with a story about the Buddha, and each corner contains an additional small pagoda.

Each side of the 2nd level is carved with one large Buddha in the center, flanked with 4 smaller Buddhas on each side.

The upper 3 levels have three carved Buddhas on each side.

pagoda

Confusion

Few claims that the Temple was not constructed by Tang’s but re-constructed.

Area

The temple faces south, and covers an area of 3078 square metres.

Way to Temple

 

 

Theatre of Marcellus

Theatre of Marcellus

The Theatre of Marcellus is an ancient open-air theatre in Rome, Italy built in the closing years of the Roman Republic.

History

Julius Caesar started the construction of the building but died before completion then his successor, Augustus continued and finished the project after his death.

At Work

At the theatre, locals and visitors alike were able to watch performances of drama and song.

Name

It was named after Marcus Marcellus, Emperor Augustus’ nephew, who died 5 years before theater’s completion.

Built

The theater was completed in 13BC and formally inaugurated in 12BC by Augustus.

Capacity

It was the largest and most important theater in Ancient Rome which could seat around 11 to 20,000 spectators

Material

The theatre was built mainly of tuff, and concrete faced with stones in the pattern known as Opus Reticulatum, completely sheathed in white travertine.

Changes

In the 12th century, the Theater of Marcellus was owned by the Fabii family who turned the theater into a fortress.

In 1368, the building was acquired by the Savelli family who asked architect Baldassare Peruzzi to transform the building into a fortified Palazzo.

In the 17th century the Palazzo fell into the hands of the Orsini.

Usage

The theater was used for more than 400 years

Facts

By the end of the 10th century, the theater was largely in ruins

At that time of its construction, the Theatre of Pompey already existed. However, to compete with a rival, Julius Caesar decided to build a new theater nearby.

Theatre of Pompey

Theater of Marcellus had 41 arches for each of the 3 tiers: Doric for the first two and Ionic for the last.

ionic_columnsdoric_columns

The uppermost portion of the Theater was decorated with enormous marble theatre masks.