The heavily graffitied walls of Saddam Hussein’s summer palace echo with the sound of dance beats thumping from speedboat river-tours. Sprawling beneath the complex, built in 1991, lie the remains of ancient Babylon. Founded almost 4,000 years ago on the banks of the River Euphrates, it sits alongside Saddam’s recreation of one of its ancient edifices. […]
Artists and literary figures of the 19th century painted a mainly Romantic picture of the Levant, as the watercolors of the Scottish painter David Roberts or Travels in the Orient by Alphonse di Lamartine bear out. But it really does exist, this legendary region between sea, mountains and desert, characterized by specific landscapes, kinds of people, vegetation and cultures.
Authors: Pierre-Louis Gatier, et al.
From the Levant: History and Archaeology in the Eastern Mediterranean
Diversity and flexibility were the essence of Levantine cities. They could be escapes from the prisons of nationality and religion. In these cities between worlds, people switched identities as easily as they switched languages.
Author: Philip Mansel
Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean