Bosra, Syria.

Ancient Theatre of Dreams.

In the south-east of Syria, the ancient Roman city of Bosra was briefly a Nabatean capital before becoming the prosperous and powerful capital of the Roman province of Syria.

Their black basalt usage, which is found throughout the area known as the Horan region of Syria, distinguishes the masonry of the buildings and ruins.

Several delightful Roman ruins are found within the old city, including the monumental ancient Roman theatre which is one of the largest and best preserved in the Mediterranean. The famous theatre was built in the second century AD during the reign of Roman Emperor Trajan who was emperor from 98 to 117 AD.

North-south cardo- Bosra. Syria.
Bosra. Syria. View along the north-south cardo with its cobblestone surface and parallel row of columns lining the ancient street.

The colossal scaenae frons or stage backdrop of the theatre was three stories high and adorned with ornate fine Corinthian columns, statues, and sculptured friezes. Unfortunately, only the lower level survives today. Its cavea, which is virtually intact, comprises 37 tiers of seating that could accommodate an audience of 15,000 spectators.

The Ancient city of Bosra is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site. I have also included a few images of the Roman theatre found in the ancient city of Philippopolis- Modern Shahba. The ancient theatre is small, however it is one of the best preserved in Syria. Shahba is about 90 kilometres southeast of Damascus.

Click to view the complete Bosra image gallery.

All images, text and content are copyright Steven Sklifas.

Paestum, Italy.

Majestic Ancient Greek Temples.

Originally named Poseidonia, in honour of the Greek Sea God Poseidon, Paestum was founded in the 7th century BC by Ancient Greek colonists from the city of Sybaris which was situated in the current Gulf of Taranto in southern Italy.

Its location was chosen for its fresh water supply and rich fertile plain, ideal for agriculture. Its site also allowed for excellent land access through the Lucanian hills to the seaport. The city became wealthy enough to mint its own coins and became an important centre of Magna Graecia–Greek colonisation in Italy.

After a few hundred years, the city was occupied by the indigenous Lucanians and then by the Romans in the third century BC. Paestum succumbed to malaria after the fall of Rome and was eventually abandoned in the late 9th century.

Paestum was a must see by any traveller engaged in the famous Grand tour- 17th to early 19th-century.

For nearly 1000 years, Paestum and its grand majestic temples were overgrown by tangled vegetation and partially submerged in swampland until the mid-18th century, when the ancient site was rediscovered by road crews. 

The three ancient Greek Doric temples of Paestum (Hera, Hera II and Athena) are ranked amongst the best preserved Greek Temples in the world.

Paestum Italy.
Paestum. Campania. Italy. The cover panel mural painting from the Tomb of the Diver (Tomba del Tuffatore) from the Tempa del Prete necropolis. This panel, which was the tomb lid, shows a naked youth executing a prefect dive into a blue sea. The dive is thought to symbolize the passage from life to the death.

The museum house the extraordinary cycle of mural paintings from the 5th century BC Tomb of Diver, which are the only type of its kind in the world and are the only example of Greek wall painting with figured scenes from the Archaic, or Classical periods to survive in their entirety.

Paestum is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Click to view the complete Paestum image gallery

All images, text and content are copyright Steven Sklifas.

Temple of Hatshepsut, Egypt.

Powerful Queen and Pharaoh

The mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut is on the west bank of the River Nile, just across from Luxor, ancient Thebes, in Egypt.

Queen Hatshepsut was one of only a few women ever to reign over Egypt as Pharaoh. She ruled for 20 years during the 18th dynasty – 14th century BCE.

Rising out of the desert plain and set against towering cliffs in the Theban Hills, the temple, with its many monumental ramps, fine terraces, and elegant columns, is one of the most impressive from ancient Egypt.

What’s also impressive are its colourful hieroglyphic paintings and reliefs, that tells the story of Hatshepsut’s divine birth and of her journey to the Land of Punt (which is believed to be modern-day Somalia) to bring back treasures such as ebony, ivory, gold, perfumes and myrrh trees.

Relief. Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. Egypt.
Thebes. Egypt. Temple of Queen Hatshepsut colourful relief showing a festival scene with soldiers running forward carrying branches of trees along with their axes.

The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site as part of the Ancient Thebes, with its Necropolis listing.

Click to view the complete Temple of Queen Hatshepsut image gallery.

All images, text and content are copyright Steven Sklifas.

Cappadocia, Turkey.

Extraordinary Rock Formations.

Cappadocia is an extraordinary historical region in landlocked Central Anatolia, in the Nevsehir Province of Turkey. 

The area is most distinguished for the remarkable dramatic rock formations and eroded volcanic rock tuff landscape. Formed millions of years ago, the otherworldly scenery is the collective work of lava spluttering volcanoes being eroded over time by wind and water. 

The region is famed for its basalt capped fairy chimneys, natural rock formations in various shapes. Some rock formations have been excavated and hollowed out and converted into houses, hotels, chapels, churches and monasteries. 

Aerial landscape view. Cappadocia. Turkey.
Cappadocia. Turkey. Aerial view from a hot-air balloon of the spectacular rock formations and eroded volcanic rock tuff landscape.

The Goreme open-air Museum is a microcosm of the Cappadocia region. Goreme has some dramatic rock structures and a cluster of several fine christian chapels, churches and monasteries with exquisite frescoes dating from the 9th century onwards and built out of the volcanic tuff.

Cappadocia is one of most magical places in the world to take a hot-air balloon ride and I spent an hour slowly drifting over the lunar like landscape taking several images in the early morning summer light. 

UNESCO lists the Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia as a World Heritage site. 

Click to view the complete Cappadocia image gallery.

All images, text and content are copyright Steven Sklifas.