The Roman theatre at Bosra is often cited as being one of the best preserved Roman theatres in the world. It was fortified and used as a citadel in the Islamic era and retained this defensive function with local people living inside the structure until they were evicted under the French Mandate in the 1920s. Today part of the building houses a mosaic museum and the theatre is still used for concerts and cultural events.
The C5th church of Qalat Kalota stands on a hill to the west of the village of Kalota. It gets its name from the Arabic word "Qal'ah" or castle as, like Kharab Shams, the church was fortified in the Islamic era. It is generally well preserved and stands in a large courtyard with a martyrium to the south of the church.
The church of Kharab Shams was built in the C4th and is generally well preserved, however it was altered in the early Islamic period when the apse area was turned into a small fortress. Today the small settlement is completely abandoned except by shepherds and goatherds who use the wells around the site.
These images were taken at Resafa in February 1997. It was pouring with rain and this affected the quality of the images, as did the fact that both the black and white images and the slides were developed badly in Syria. The visit was made in the company of Fr. Na'aman, a Rum Orthodox Archimandrite who ministered to all Christians in Raqqa and who appears in some of the images.
Most of the images show the basilica that dominates the city as the most substantial building still extant and that became the centre of the cult of Mar Sarkis (St. Sergius) after the partition of the city under Islamic rule. An early mosque abuts the north side of the basilica, but was not built to the same high standard and now little remains.
The rest of the pictures show the city walls and the Sura Gate (North gate) to the city.
On 7th October 1998 thousands of Syrian and Lebanese Christians converged on Resafa to celebrate the 1700th anniversary of the martyrdom of SS. Sergius and Bacchus (they were fully aware that they were one year late - this was blamed on typical Syrian lack of organisation by those asked to provide an explanation for the belated date). An ecumenical ceremony took place in the basilica and these pictures document this event.