Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »
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Places visited in Syria
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Places visited in Shiraz, Iran
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Places visited in Amman, Jordan
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Kaleüçağız Köyü, Turkey

Lycian Tomb Uçagiz

A mysterious ancient cemetery with Roman sarcophagi and Lycian inscriptions.
36.1971, 29.8475
Fairy Chimneys
Aksaray, Turkey

Cappadocia

Entire cities carved into ancient volcanic rock formations.
38.4174, 34.1382
These fingers obviously belong to Hercules
Amman, Jordan

Hand of Hercules

The most gigantic, swoony, intimidating trio of fingers in all of antiquity.
31.9547, 35.9343
Madaba Mosaic Map
Madaba, Jordan

Madaba Mosaic Map

The world's oldest map of the holy land gives us a fragmented glimpse of the layout of biblical nations.
31.7177, 35.7941
Murals to sportsmanship fade on the walls of Amman's Sports City
Amman, Jordan

Sports City

Since being abandoned this sprawling, formerly elite sporting complex in Amman, Jordan has become a local picnic spot.
31.9852, 35.9026
The Oval Forum in Jerash, and the Cardo Maximus
Jerash, Jordan

The Ruins of Jerash

Gladiators battle and chariots race daily in the ruins of a once-great Roman city.
32.2769, 35.9056
Photo Courtesy the Long Now Foundation
Jordan

Petra

An ancient capital city 3000 years old and harboring many surprises.
30.3285, 35.4427
North Korean mural of former Syrian President Hafez al-Asad. (LeahC/Atlas Obscura)
Damascus, Syria

October War Panorama

3D war panorama in Damascus built with help from North Korea.
33.5130, 36.2920
6th Century Image of Saint Simeon
Syria

Church of Saint Simeon the Stylite

What is left of the pillar of Saint Simeon, the voluntary martyr who climbed the column to give his sermons, remaining perched there for thirty-seven years.
36.3341, 36.8442
Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque
Set Zaynab, Syria

Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque

This ornate mosque is said to hold the remains of Muhammad's granddaughter beneath its dome of pure gold.
33.4445, 36.3411
The Castle of Masyaf (Flickr/Samuel Santos)
Masyaf, Syria

Musyaf Castle

The Syrian headquarters of alleged hashish-smoking assassins.
35.0701, 36.3469
A grand facade in Serjilla (Flickr/Laura and Fulvio's photos)
Balshoon, Syria

Dead City of Serjilla

1500-year-old ghost settlement slowly faded away.
35.6716, 36.5843
Krak des Chevaliers
Safita, Syria

Krak des Chevaliers

Ruins of the Crusaders' headquarters.
34.7569, 36.2944
Palmyra, Syria

Palmyra

Mysterious lost empire of the Silk Road.
34.5511, 38.3025
1513 Piri Reis Map portion
Istanbul, Turkey

Piri Reis Map at Topkapi Palace

1513 Turkish world map, full of European state secrets and snarky commentary.
41.0115, 28.9833
Istanbul, Turkey

Panorama 1453 Museum

Step back in time and witness the fall of Constantinople.
41.0180, 28.9204
Serpent column with the Obelisk of Theodosius in the background.
Istanbul, Turkey

Serpent Column

Ancient serpentine sacrifice holder that has stood the test of time.
41.0056, 28.9751
The Tomb of Daniel at Susa, Iran. (Wikimedia Commons)
Shush, Iran

Tomb of Daniel

Burial site of a Jewish prophet revered in Iran.
32.1933, 48.2568
(Flickr/Picolo121)
Isfahan, Iran

Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque

17th century mosque for Shah Abbas' harem.
32.6514, 51.6792
The Tower of Silence in Yazd
Yazd, Iran

Zoroastrian Towers of Silence

Putrefaction plateaus in Iran, where the dead were sent for decontamination before going to their final resting place.
31.8220, 54.3569
Shah Cheragh
Shiraz, Iran

Shah Cheragh

Mirrors and glass shards cover every inch of this arrestingly beautiful mosque.
29.6093, 52.5435
More Victorian graffiti
Iran

Graffiti at Persepolis

Marked by the hand of the explorer Henry Morton Stanley.
29.9355, 52.8916
Shiraz, Iran

Eram Garden

Named after a legendary garden called Eram in southern Arabia, built by order of Shaddad, an Arab king who wanted to compete with Paradise.
29.6354, 52.5256
Tomb of Cyrus
Iran

Tomb of Cyrus

This ancient burial site is believed to be one of the first earthquake-protected structures in the world.
30.1939, 53.1662