As it was a market day in Deir es-Zor, it was easy to find transportation, and before we realized, we were on our way to the south east. After more than an hour drive, we left the microbus on a crossroads, and made our way towards where we thought would be Mari. As we were getting thirsty, we looked around the entrance, and finally found someone to pay our entrance fee to. We also finished the tasteful cherries we had bought earlier in Deir es-Zor, so we were ready to explore the ruins of Mari.
Mari was an important city in the Mesopotamian era, no less than 5000 years ago. Its most famous leader was Zimri-Lim, who reigned this city around 1800BCE, and who was also in control of the important trade route between Syria and Mesopotamia, in which Mari was an important stopover. His royal palace, which actually existed centuries before he came to power, was enormous at 200 by 120 metres, counting some 300 rooms. Still now, the palace is the main point of interest for the visitor, and in order to protect it from the elements, it is covered by a protective roof. While on our way to the palace, we already spotted several remains of pottery, as Mari also used to be a place of artistic importance.
As we walked descended the stairs to enter the ruins of the palace, we tried to imagine princesses walking around here, we tried to imagine their dresses, we tried to imagine how the palace would have looked like. Not at all easy, as nowadays the walls are mere mud and there is no hint of decorations. After walking through the palace with its high walls, we explored the area around it, with dry earth, and ruins of what might have been houses, temples, or shops. Even the remains of the ziggurat, or Mesopotamian pyramid, were not easy to distinguish, and we assumed it must be the highest point of the area. From there, views over the landscape towards Iraq, less than 20 km from here, but also a strong and merciless sun above us.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Mari (Syria). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Mari. Read more about this site.