Jun. 18, 2008

A Historian's Dream

One of the most wonderful parts about living and teaching in Syria was that I had so much time to reflect upon my experiences. As soon as I returned to Canada, that luxury seemed to disappear again. It is my intention in the next few days to reflect both upon my last week in Syria and the trip on the whole. I hope that my long absence will be excused and that the following pictures will act as an exciting teaser for the thoughts to come.

Above: Back on the Damascus Highway...
Below: The road we drove down in the school's mini-buses to get to our first castle
Yes, we did have to drive up the other side of the valley.
And yes, every single corner was terrifying.

Above: Standing in the dry moat of Salah al-Din's Citadel. The moat was mostly dug out of the bare rock - only the top-most part of the wall is actually constructed of brick and mortar.
Below: Ryan explains as the students get ready to look at their first castle. Even for a number of the Syrian students, it was the first time visiting these historic sites!

Above: Two deep valleys form natural impediments to any invader who might attempt to take Salah al-Din's Citadel.
Below: Students explore the most fortified side of Marqab, a Crusader castle overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Above: The brick and mortar of Marqab.
Below: Students prepare to explore the enormous Krak de Chevalier.

Above: This space was home to some 250 horses when Krak de Chevaliers was garrisoned by the Knights Hospitaliers.
Below: Michael demonstrates how the sunbeams coming from small openings in the ceiling were manipulated to light an entire underground room.
Far Below: Looking past the solid walls of the Krak.