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Heading towards Iraq


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large_5550_12790260041858.jpgAshmamis citadel.
So, after talking to my hotelier Abdullah yesterday, I traded my trip to Lattakia and Aleppo for a town near the south-east border crossing into Iraq! He (along with other travellers) said that Lattakia wasn't nice and I could instead have a cool dip in Lake Assad while having a view of an ancient citadel!

Along with Ammi and Salome (South African couple) and our driver Abdul Kader, we left at 7am.

We stopped briefly at Qalaat Al-Shmemis (Ashmamis Castle) where I hiked up to the remains of the moat. This was followed by a brief photo-stop at some beehive houses.

Our major sight was Rasafa, a huge ancient walled city. Most of what we see now is left over from the Romans 1500-1800 years ago.
Next was Jaabar Citadel.large_5550_1279026004990.jpgAshmamis citadel.This was a Mesopotamian style citadel but the difference here is that since a dam was built across the Euphrates (with Soviet assistance), the citadel is surrounded largely by beautiful turquoise water. Very pretty.

After lunch, it was getting a bit late and it seemed like too difficult to have a swim ... the usual reasons ... changing, shoofis (staring squad), changing back, carrying wet clothes .... so we bundled ourselves into a bus bound for Deir Al-Zur.

A couple of hours later, we started seeing signs pointing towards Iraq. And shortly after, we were in the town of Deir Al-Zur. It sits by the Euphrates river, with its lush banks. The icon of the town is a pedestrian suspension bridge across the Euphrates.

It is a remote and conservative town with few visitors. During our stay, Salome got a lot of stares and eventually resorted to wearing a headscarf.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Syria

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