Philobiblon: Friday's feline foto

Friday, January 21, 2005

Friday's feline foto

feline, originally uploaded by natalieben.

When I stumbled across a collection of photos from the Syrian leg of my Middle East trip, gosh, nearly six years ago now, although it seems less, I found this perfect feline to follow the Friday cat blogging tradition. I don't remember the name of the ancient site, but know that it was one of the many neo-Hittite cities outside Aleppo.

((AN UPDATE: having dug out my diary the name of the city is Ain Dara and it is not neo-Hittite but Aramaean (1,300BC to 740BC). Goes to show you shouldn't rely on memory.))

If you are into archaeology, Aleppo is a place that you have to go. The concentration of ancient sites around the city must be among the greatest, if not the greatest anywhere, and the state of preservation of many of them is astounding. (And Aleppo itself is brilliant: it smells of coffee and cinnamon, and the covered market really does take you back in time.)

Our guide (from the wonderful colonial-era and hardly changed - although I don't believe there are bed-bugs now - Baron Hotel), would just wave a weary hand as another obvious tel (remains of ancient city) loomed now on the left, now on the right: "oh it is just another neo-Hittite city". (c. 1,300BC to 700BC).

This lovely lion was on one of the few that has been (in part) excavated, and shows you what wonders must still be under the ground.

A short introduction to the Hittites.


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