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Syria and Spain—On the Path of the Umayyads

April 18–May 5, 2008

Roman columns in Damascus, Islamic arches in Cordoba…Though geographically distant from each other, Syria and Spain—located the eastern and western edge of the Mediterranean Sea along the former outskirts of the Roman Empire—have shared a large number of historical and cultural traits. Shortly after the Arab conquest, both areas became home to Umayyad empires with capitals that were major centers of art, craft production, and learning. During this trip, led by Dr. Clemens Reichel, we will explore Syria and Spain’s shared heritage from the Roman and the Umayyad periods to the age of the Crusades. Site visits in Syria will include the old cities of Damascus, Aleppo, and Hama with their Umayyad mosques, the Roman city of Bosra in the Hauran with its massive amphitheatre, the oasis of Palmyra with the Bel Temple and splendid procession street, the Byzantine city of Resafa (Sergiopolis) with its vast cisterns, and the Umayyad castles in the Syrian desert. In Spain we will explore the splendor of Islamic architecture in Andalusia.

From the Umayyad period, we visit Cordoba’s famous Mesquita, and the abandoned city of Madinat az-Zahra. The trip will conclude with a visit to Granada, capital of the Nasreen Emirat, where we witness the final flourish of Islamic Architecture, crowned by a visit to the Alhambra.

Questions? Contact the Membership Office at (773) 834-9777 or

Revised: March 3, 2009

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