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Monuments of Syria: A Historical Guide [Paperback]

Ross Burns
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1999
As Syria becomes more accessible to outsiders, this revised handbook aims to guide visitors through the layers of history, linking various sites to such figures as Alexander and Saladin, and decoding the cultural influences which shaped the many monuments. The book is organized as a gazetteer.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: I.B.Tauris; 2nd Revised edition edition (May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860642446
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860642449
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,310,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


The best thing on the market and essential for anyone who takes their Syrian travelling seriously. "Hugh Kennedy, Times Literary Supplement"

About the Author

Ross Burns is an historian and archaeologist by training and has lived in Syria and Lebanon for several years.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
For a piece of land which has been fought over for millennia, Syria hardly gives the impression of a lush prize. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE guide to the archaeology of Syria 16 April 2001
By A Customer
If you are looking for a guidebook to the historical remains of Syria that is clear, easy to use, and tells you every thing you could feasibly wish to know in a concise and witty fashion then this is your book. It covers every town, relic and ruin in one of the most history-packed countries in the world. Each site is listed alphabetically with each entry contain not only all relevant facts but also, crucially, instructions on how to get there, as well as rating the site according to its likely interest value. I spent 6 weeks doing arcahelogical research in Syria using this guidebook and found that not only the larger sites but also the very smallest were expertly covered by Ross Burns. My only grumble would be the schematic designs of some of the maps and diagrams - but so long as you don't attempt to navigate by these then there isn't a problem. The book contains nothing of hotels etc.. as would an ordinary guidebook, and so needs to be used in conjunction with another more conventional 'travel book' - the Footprints' 'Syria, Lebanon and Jordan' is particalarly good.
Altogether a bloody good book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Al Rosafa only 12 Jun 1999
By A Customer
For many years I led many tours in many countries, amongst them, Syria. Years later, at a party here in Swaziland, I was talking to this guy who mentioned that he had been in Syria, too; in fact, he was writing a guide book on the subject. One of the many magic, even if almost unknown, places in Syria is the early Christian pilgramage city of Al Rosafa. Ross was kind enough to fax me an excerpt from his book, covering that walled desert city. Quite simply, I haven't read anything as good before or since, and don't expect to. If the rest turns out to be as good - serious or armchair travellers alike - get this book: it will be an Alladin's cave!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive guidebook 30 Dec 2007
This is a terrific guidebook - at once readable and authoritative, covering all the archaeology you can possible stomach in one trip, and plenty more besides. I particularly like the fact that the author is not afraid to show his own opinions (e.g. Apamea is a bit 'razzle dazzle' ...). You can't afford to go to Syria without it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory for visiting Syria 6 Sep 2010
By davidmi
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An absolute and comprehensive essential for visiting Syria thanks to the detailed information on history, location, architecture and design of the many sites covered. I lived in Syria for a year and used this guide practically every weekend to the extent that my original publisher's copy fell apart. Amazon's version appears to be digitally-printed in a smaller size but at least it is readily available and I have got used to the smaller type. It isn't perfect because I found one pre-Christian oracle that isn't mentioned. Had it been in the book, I am sure the author's quality of directions would have saved one day in actually locating it since all we had was a vague location from the local historical society. All the key sites are covered but anyone spending time in Syria will soon realise the country is a treasure store of history. Armed with this book you can easily be the only person climbing a hill topped by a ruined but near-forgotten castle or fort with a fascinating history dating to Crusader and earlier times.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A stupendous book! 19 Jan 2012
Having lived and worked in Damascus for two years, I must say that this book is in a league of its own. In Syria it is a respected work. The number of monuments covered by the author, along with the historical expertise he displays, are very impressive. Entries for each site are thoroughly referenced, listing possible alternative names in Arabic, the historical period to which the ruins belong, and directions about how to get to them (these generally assume you have a vehicle and do not give much info about shared taxis).

As this is an historical guide, there is no information regarding hotels and accommodation. It is therefore vital that you complement it with another guidebook (footprints probably remains the best). In any case, don't be afraid of getting stuck somewhere as the Syrians are wonderful people who are always ready to help you out.

I wouldn't hesitate to say that reading this book constituted an education in itself. It certainly allowed me to discover a fascinating country whose history is often overlooked and poorly understood. No wonder there aren't that many other historical guides to Syria on the market!
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