The Syria of today offers tourists as much a cultural experience as a sightseeing one, where ancient history provides a fascinating backdrop to everyday life on the streets                          



Section Seven


The Hypogeum of Iarhai is a fine example of the Palmyrene funerary monuments . It was removed from the Valley of the Tombs in Palmyra and was reconstructed in most parts in the

 National Museum of Damascus in 1935.

The stone door of the Hypogeum consists of two leaves. Their outer surface is carved on the model of the wood doors. Ascending the steps, the visitor confronts a facade consisting of two niches, each is topped by a shell form, under which are two reliefs depicting the dead at a banquet with the members of the family.

To the right, there is a vaulted hall ending with the triclinium where the sacristans of the temple are seen preparing the funerary ceremony.

The two lateral walls have exedra covered with stone busts bearing the reliefs of the head. The pilasters are decorated with flowers in relief.

One of the stone busts bears a portrait in relief depicting a Palmyrene. He is bearded, dressed in a garment topped by a head-dress and the right hand comes out of it. The nose is straight, the eye-brows long, the eyes wide. The pupil is represented by a circle and the eye-ball by a point in its middle. The curled hair flows down to cover the forehead. The features have lifelike expressions. H. 48 cm. W. 44 cm.

A discovered inscription points out that the Hypogeum was founded by Iarhai, Son of Barbaki, in April, 108 AD. It seems that the members of his family, his grandchildren used it in the second and third century of our era.

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