Syria's Disappearing Palace
Terence Mirabelli investigates why Syria is losing an archaeological site.
Syria is on its way to losing an archaeological site, in its coastal city of Lattakia, because of a lack of funds and, ultimately, forgetfulness.
In November 1976 Syria's president, Hafez Assad, ceremoniously placed the foundation stone of a US $2.5 million hotel on a spot where construction workers subsequently found archaeological remains. When the Department of Antiquities heard of the find it created such a fuss that the site of the new hotel had to be moved. And today the modern, eight story Meridien Hotel stands some 200 yards from its foundation stone.