July 31, 2001 – Damascus – Bosra – Damascus




Today, it is our south expedition in the South of Syria not far from the Jordan border. Bosra is not one of the top cities of Syria in a quiz show but the journey there is worth it. Here, all the monuments are in black basalt that is really different from what I have seen before in Syria like in Palmyra or Apamea. Many monuments are masterpieces.


After a local bus to go to Deraa and another one to Bosra (we didn’t find the location in Damascus to take the direct and quick bus to Bosra!!!). We start the visit with one of these masterpieces : The theater inside the citadel. It has been really well preserved thanks to its transformation in citadel after the Muslim conquest. From the outside, you can’t imagine that such a beautiful thing is inside. The outer walls of the citadel are exactly the borders of the theater. The site was buit in the 2nd century and could welcome more than 8,000 people on 35 rows. The stage’s wall is intact. What is extraordinary is that this theater is almost identical to the one in Orange (France) whereas Bosra is at some thousands kilometers from France. Every other year, there is a music festival and it looks like in the Past. I assume it could be impressive for anyone on the stage to face thousands of people in such a place.


Bosra : The stage’s wall


Bosra : The 35 rows


What surprises me in this town is that inhabitants live on the site, their houses are next to these millennium buildings. And most of these houses are also dated from hundreds years ago. This is also a town where tourism helps people to earn money. Besides the cafés and restaurants near the theater, there are a lot of Syrians selling items and accepting any currency as payment.


After the visit of the theater, we walk towards a huge reservoir that stocks water for the entire city. Of course in July, it is almost dry but you perfectly see its dimensions (155m long and 122m wide for 8m deep). You can stock 150,000 m3 of water there.


A little further, we discover a nabatean arch symbolizing the beginning of the nabatean city. 100m from there, there is St Serge cathedral dedicated to two Syrians’ martyrs: Serge and Bacchus. We can clearly see the localization of the columns. This cathedral is also known as the model of St Sophie cathedral in Constantinople (Turkey) built 10 years after this one.


Bosra : The nabatean arch


Al Mabraq mosque is one of the holiest places for Muslims. There is a legend about Prophet Mahomet. The mosque is built on the site where the she-camel of the Prophet has stopped. By asking to the men outside, you can enter the mosque and see the traces of the she-camel. The mosque also has “magic” doors made in stone and 30cm thick. They can be moved very well despite the years of service and all that without any oil to better the rotation.


It’s at the mosque that I meet two French from Nancy, Laurent and Aurélie who will become my travel mates for the next days in Jordan.


The end of the visit is just a walk down the colonnade.


Bosra : The colonnade


Then we sat on a terrace to drink something and have a break and at 4pm, we take the bus to Damascus. This time, the journey only takes 1:15 instead of the 3:00 in the morning (long life to direct buses!!) We arrive near the Karnak garaj so we immediately go the bus station to buy the tickets to go to Jordan. We have the same speech than yesterday concerning the change (only JD or USD) but a Syrian tells us to pay in Syrian Pounds and the lady at the desk agrees. We will take the first bus to Amman to fully enjoy the afternoon.


We take a taxi to go to the hotel because Gael sprained his ankle in Bosra. Tonight, we try the local hamburger but it is not very good so we ease this taste by drinking a lot of fruit juices near the hotel.


We spend the evening in the patio of the Al Rabie where Laurent and Aurélie sleep and we start talking on various subject related to middle east: their visit to the Hezbollah museum in Balbeek (Lebanon), airport problems, Quneitra… And at 1 am we decide to go to bed because we have a rendezvous at 6am in front of their hotel to go to the bus station. I say goodbye to Gael and I wish him a good month of traveling. I will meet him in France at the beginning of September.





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D1 : Lyons – Damascus

D2 : Damascus (1)  (2)

D3 : Damascus

D4 : Damascus – Palmyra

D5 : Palmyra – Hama

D6 : Hama – Apamea – Aleppo

D7 : Aleppo

D8 : Aleppo

D9 : Aleppo

D10 : Aleppo – San Simeon – Aleppo

D11 : Aleppo – Qalaat Al Saadin – Tartous (1)  (2)

D12 : Tartous – Krak des chevaliers – Beirut (1)  (2)

D13 : Beirut – Tripoli

D14 : Tripoli – Damascus

D15 : Damascus – Maaloula – Damascus

D16 : Damascus

D17 : Damascus – Bosra – Damascus

D18 : Damascus – Amman – Dead Sea – Amman

D19 : Amman – Jerash - Amman

D20 : Amman – Madaba – Amman

D21 : Amman – Kerak – Dana

D22 : Dana

D23 : Dana – Petra (1)  (2)

D24 : Petra

D25 : Petra

D26 : Petra – Wadi Rum

D27 : Wadi Rum – Aqaba

D28 : Aqaba

D29 : Aqaba

D30 : Aqaba

D31 : Aqaba

D32 : Aqaba - Amman

D33 : Amman

D34 : Amman – Lyons




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Last update : January 2002

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