Along sides, civilizations flourished and collapsed. People cheered victories and others mourned losses. They are all gone while it still to exist. It witnessed their births and deaths and now it lives to tell us their stories.
I, one day, listened; it whispered, it told me a story about Palmyrians and their Queen Zenobia, a story that was new to me. I knew they dared the Romans, but not to the level of building up two cities on its banks, Halabiya & Zalabiya.
They were built to control the traffic on the Euphrates and as a forward defense line against the Persians.
These two cities prospered and flourished during Zenobia’s ruling era; a normal consequence of being part of the Kingdome.
It later was in the grasp of the Romans who enhanced it and re-built its walls that had been knocked down during battles.
It also told me, with a choke in the throat, how neglected these cities have become. The walls that one day defended Zenobia, have become a place for people to write their names and souvenirs of passing by! No facilities whatsoever, neither the cities nor their visitors are being taken care of! The cities are now deader than they were after every successful invasion.
I had to blur my friends' faces as I didn't ask for permission to post their photos; and because Omar, Hassan, Hamoud, Mahmoud, Taher, Sharif, Mohsen, Talal, Ahmad, George, Taha, Ali, Jamal and Abu-Dirgham had their names carved on the wall in this photo, and that's too many people for one photo!
If you are ever passing by the river, please listen to it, it will not only tell you the story of the place like nobody else, but also, it will peg you to keep the memory of the visit in your head or your photo album, not on the ancient walls! Please!