The name Palmyra means city of palm trees. It's an ancient place built around an oasis and fought over by many ancient super powers, as it was a key stop for caravans going through the desert. It was the throne of Queen Zenobia, who defied the Roman empire and conquered the surrounding area.
I didn't know what to expect from Palmyra. I really didn't read familiarize myself with the sights of Syria as I didn't expect to cross the border. I've come to realize that this is the place to see if traveling through this country. It rivals everything I've seen on my trip, including Turkey.
I got off the bus around lunch time, found a hotel and immediately left to explore the ruins. Right off the bat I noticed that it's a vast area. Most of it one can explore for free, it's just too big to build a wall around it and charge admission. Though the best sights among the ruins are closed off and a ticket is required.
Like with previous tourists sights, there were locals patrolling the area trying to sell you junk. In addition there were also camel owners offering tourists a ride for $2-$20 dollars. The price kept getting smaller as I walked away. :) My experience riding camels in India left me quite sore and I didn't have any desire to do it again.
I spent the entire afternoon walking around and taking photos and was surprised to see very few tourists. The sun started to go down and it was pretty cloudy so I thought there wouldn't be much of a sunset. But just as I started heading back to town, the colours in the clouds started turning red, orange and purple and I broke out the camera. Unfortunately I was far from the really good silhouettes, but I managed to capture some of the colour.
In an entire afternoon I think I only managed to see a third of the interesting sights. In addition to the ruins there is a citadel that overlooks the oasis and some tomb towers in the nearby hills. This will be my agenda for tomorrow.