Syria is the Middle East’s best kept secret. With a wealth of historical splendors matched by few other countries in this region, Syria has remained almost undiscovered. As a result little has been spoiled, much is unknown, and there is much to discover. It is a land of immense antiquity, boasting cities and archaeological remains that are among the oldest in the world. The world’s great invaders from earliest history have fought to establish a bridgehead there as a key to further conquests: Hittites, Hurrians and Hebrews, Aramaeans, Assyrians and Arabs, Egyptians, Canaanites, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Turks, Mongols, and French. All have left behind some of the most spectacular monuments that can be seen anywhere. Today, entire deserted cities, immense castles, and a bewildering array of palaces, mosques, temples, theaters, and other ruins are strewn across the country providing the richest and most diverse heritage in the region. More than any other country in the East, Syria is truly the gateway to Asia. This book reconsiders the history of Syria and surveys the major archaeological and historical sites, making a strong case for reassessing the importance of Syria in our perception of the growth of civilization out of the Middle East. With its many site plans and maps, readable text and 96 color photos, this book makes available for the first time the immensely wealthy history, archaeology, and architecture of Syria to the general reader and the interested traveler.