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A Historical and Architectural Guide

Warwick Ball’s “Syria - A Historical and Architectural Guide” is detailed, fascinating and a well-written book about this rich land, and one that has been written by an archeologist who has been visiting Syria for nearly forty years.

With a wealth of historical splendours matched by few other countries, has remained almost undiscovered by mass tourism. As a result, little has been spoilt, much is unknown, and there is much to discover. It is a land of immense antiquity, boasting cities and archaeological remains that are amongst the oldest in the world. Hittites, Hurrians and Hebrews, Aramaeans, Assyrians and Arabs, Egyptians, Canaanites, Persians, Nabateans, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Turks and French have all come, leaving behind some of the most spectacular monuments that can be seen anywhere.

Today, entire deserted cities such as Palmyra or Resafa, immense castles like Krak des Chevaliers and a bewildering array of palaces, mosques, temples, theatres, churches and other ruins strewn across the country provides Syria with one of the richest and most diverse heritages in the world.

Syria's timeless monuments overawe the visitor. But most of all, the visitor to Syria meets with the characteristic courtesy and hospitality to outsiders that makes travel in the Arab world such a pleasure. is still ‘the best kept secret'.

This new, expanded and revised edition keeps pace both with the rapid increase in travel to and the new material which has appeared on the country itself. It reconsiders the history and heritage of this extraordinary land and surveys the major sites, making a strong case for reassessing its importance in our perception of the growth of civilization out of the Middle East. With its many site plans and maps, engaging text and 96 colour plates, it makes available the immensely wealthy history, archaeology and architecture of to the general reader and the interested traveller.


Size 216 x 138 mm
256 pages - incl. color photographs + drawings
Rimal Books / Melisende, 2006
Language: English
ISBN 978 1901 764 46 8



Historical background
Architectural background
Damascus and environs
The Hauran and Southern Syria
The Orontes Valley and Central Syria
The coast
Aleppo and environs
The dead cities of the north
The Euphrates and the Jazira
Palmyra and the desert


Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
John R. Mcdonald
Syria, a historical and architecural guide

The guide book is perfect for a quick reference source of the sights to see in Syria and I will surely carry it with me when I travel there next year. Only wish the maps had a little more detailed info or maybe more maps. But it is great for a planning my trip.

Jenny Schwartz
It's one of those rare books

It's one of those rare books that delivers what it promises: a historical and architectural guide to Syria. It is written with good humour, enthusiasm and clarity, and includes photos of sites mentioned.

Abe Green
The Middle East

Syria is a very ancient country that dates back to the start of time and has seen a lot in its day, Syria has been a Muslim country for over 1,090 years and before that Syria was mainly Christian. Today, Syria is about 90% Muslim ( mostly Sunni, Alawite, and Druze) and 10% Christian ( mostly Syrian, Greek, and Armenian Orthodox). And both the Prophets of Christianity and Islam have came through Syria in their lifetimes. The population is 90% Arab (mainly Syrian 74.9%, Palestinian 3.9%, Bedouin 7.1%, and Iraqi), the rest are Kurds who live in northeastern Syria, Armenians who live mostly in Aleppo and Kassab, and Turkmens who all make up the remaining 10%.

Norman K Solomon
Syria: A Historical and Architectural Guide

Judging a book by its cover is usually a dangerous practice. However, Ball and his publisher have created a book that is as attractive within as without. From the standpoint of layout, the most striking feature is that the colorful plates are complemented by text pages of approximately the same weight. This feature avoids the awkwardness often found in softbound texts interspersed with photographic sections.
The glossary is adequate, if not thorough, allowing for armchair reading by dilletantes in most cases. However, one will occasionally confront within a definition presented an unfamiliar word not elsewhere defined.
The only other awkwardness encountered in the American edition were the occasional British usages and grammatical anomalies. "Colour" and "spoilt" do not grate on the ear nearly as readily as "awoken." But the presence of "vividest" and "have begin" makes the reader wonder about either the book editor's thoroughness or familiarity with elements of grammar and composition.
In sum, I found Ball's work a thorough and colorful introduction to the topic with only the occasional flaw.


Great information on the chaotic history and exciting past of the "cradle of civilization" Recommend it for all.

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