Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Last weekend I was invited to attend a conference in Bosra, a two days one night event, that has to do with oncology. The conference was sponsored by a drug company, and as usual there was an educational part and an entertainment counterpart.
The road to Bosra takes about 75 minutes or so. There is one hotel there, Bosra Al Cham, which I think only worked on the day we arrived. Otherwise it is a ghost hotel. I can’t say it is fancy but there were a couple of touches that reflected the local culture. First there is the black stones used in the building, I just wish it was all black; it would have fitted well with the rest of the ruins. Second, inside the hotel there is a place made as a bedwin sitting place with an old coffee grinder (مهباج), and a coffee grill (منقل). And thirdly, few colored straw plates decorating a wall.
The rooms had two beds, each less than a twin size. The TV was not as big, 13” at most. At least the rooms where clean, and who needs the luxury here anyway. No one would spend more than a day here for tourism purposes.
There were 3 quick lectures in the evening, then dinner. There was a performer too, but no one danced. I think he was happy with our table because we kept cheering and applauding. And I think he was happy because it is business for him, probably the only in a long time.
Next day we where taken in a sightseeing tour. Bosra, for those who don’t know it, has one of the biggest and most complete, if not the only, Roman amphitheater. I have visited Bosra many times before, but not a single time we bothered visiting anything but the theatre. In fact, I never knew anything else existed. But to my surprise there was a whole city beyond the theatre, ruins of all ages from B.C. to nowadays (nowadays sightseeing includes trash, writings on walls, and people living in ancient ruin houses). There are mosques, churches, pillars, houses (some occupied by people), shops, and of course baths. I am including some pictures.
The theatre is amazing, I don’t know how many it fits, but there is a festival in Bosra every year, and concerts every now and then (I believe the hotel also works then). Before the French discover the theatre, it turned out that it was covered in whole and made into a castle by the Arabs upon the فتوحات اسلامية (damn Arabs can’t keep anything neat or leave it alone).
It is sad to see that such an important place is not well cared for, that no signs tell you what building is what, and that people live in places that should be under the supervision of the Ministry of Tourism.


At Wed Feb 28, 01:26:00 PM GMT+2, Blogger GraY FoX said...

thanks for the nice trip :D
how nice to have such a trip with my butt is still sticking to the chair :D

At Tue Apr 24, 10:36:00 AM GMT+3, Blogger Corina said...

I have to disagree with you on some points. You said that the Arabs do not look after things, but when I visited Bosra I was so happy that it was not commercialised. My husband and I arrived at the amphitheatre early in the morning and were the only visitors there. There were attendants watching the main entrance that let us in. As we walked around we got a true feel for the place; it was so quiet and serene. The amphitheatre was clearly looked after in a more simplistic way, as there were workers sweeping the floors with natural brooms. I found the whole experience more touching and interesting then when I have visited amphitheatres / Roman ruins in the UK where everything is so commercialised that part of the building/ruins have a 'gift shop' attached selling ludicrously priced tat. Finally, as for people not being aware of it, this is true to a certain extent... but I feel this is what has helped the amphitheatre to remain relatively untouched and natural. However, contrary to this there were a number of tourists of varying nationalities coming to visit the amphitheatre as we were leaving. They had obviously been staying in the large executive type hotel which is located in Bosra and were well aware of the Roman ruins located there.


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