444 PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
presented by grateful cities, long trains of captive Goths, Vandals, Sarmatians, Franks,
Germans, Gauls, Syrians, Bedawin, and Egyptians. But the observed of all observers was
Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra. " Her beauteous figure was confined by fetters of gold, a slave
supported the gold chain which encircled her neck, and she almost fainted under the intolerable
weight of jewels." She preceded on foot the magnificent chariot which she had built in
Palmyra for her own triumphal entry into Rome. It was followed by two other gorgeous
chariots, of Odenathus and the Persian king, after which came the triumphal car of Aurelian,
drawn by four elephants.
Aurelian bestowed fifteen thousand pounds of gold upon the Temple of the Sun in
Rome, in which he placed the images of Belus and of the Sun, brought from Palmyra. His
mother had been a priestess in a chapel of the Sun, and he was a devout worshipper of the
God of Light.
Should the new age of reform and material progress so ardently longed for by the
oppressed races of Syria ever come, a railway from Tripoli, on the Mediterranean, via Hums,
to the Euphrates would be indispensable. Palmyra would then be brought out of its desert
isolation into the pathway of the nations.
THE WADY BARADA.
It was a fragrant spring morning when we set out from Damascus for Baalbek and Mount
Lebanon via the Wady Barada. The perfume of fruit blossoms and spring wild flowers filled
the air as we rode through the shady suburbs, amid murmuring waters, across the Taurah canal
and then the Yezid, which irrigates Salihiyeh, the northern suburb of Damascus. We then
turned our horses' heads up the steep barren ascent to the Kubbet Seiyar, commonly called
" Kubbet en Nusr," or Dome of Victory. From this point, seven hundred feet above the level
of the plain, we take a last look at Damascus.
Our travelling party now turn northward, down the barren chalky rocks into the valley of
the Barada. The scenery of this part of Anti-Lebanon is unique. ' Lebanon is one high range
running from north to south, sending off lateral spurs or ranges westward down to the sea,
wrhile on the east it stands like a colossal wall one hundred miles long, breaking down suddenly
into the Buka'a. But Anti-Lebanon, known as Jebel esh Shurky, or the " East Mountain," is a
series of parallel ranges, in general verdureless and barren, its loftier points glaring white in the
summer's sun, giving the scene an air of painful desolation.
What the Nile is to Egypt, the Barada is to Damascus. It seems a small stream as you
ride along its banks, but the volume of water is great and unfailing. Along the river on both
sides, in the deep narrow valley, every inch of land that can be reached by irrigation is
cultivated, and the rows of tall poplars extend for miles, marking the course of the river as
with a fringe of green, running zigzag among the chalky hills. Following the left bank of the
river, high up on the rocky slope, then descending along the base of a high ridge and passing
through vineyards and orchards of fig-trees, we reached the river Barada at Bessima (see