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Pictures of the Middle East slideshow - picture descriptions:

Image 0: Lebanon - Beirut: Looks better than in the news. The whole coast of Lebanon is actually a big city. Beirut reminds of Rio de Janeiro...
Image 1: Lebanon - Beirut:...but here it's not Jesus but Harissa who watches over the city.
Image 2: Lebanon - Beirut: Rock in Beirut's harbour.
Image 3: Lebanon - Beirut: Since a lot of people have escaped from the war many buildings have uncertain ownership and are left as they are for the time being. The contrast between disrepair and new constructions brings forth a rather pleasant dreamlike feeling.
Image 4: Lebanon - Beirut: A peace manifestation in order to strengthen the bonds between different religions. Beirut is considered a Christian city but is the melting-pot for the many religious views of the Middle East.
Image 5: Lebanon - Byblos: Where the rich people dwell.
Image 6: Lebanon - Beirut: A cemetery, the graves are built in several levels.
Image 7: Lebanon - Beirut: CAM and AB plan the trip to Anjar with our chauffeur.
Image 8: Lebanon: View over the coastal land of Beirut. The roadside also works as a garbage dump.
Image 9: Lebanon: The ruined city of Anjar.
Image 10: Lebanon - Anjar: Refugees from the east live more or less permanently in these 2000 year old ruins.
Image 11-12: Lebanon: Anjar.
Image 13: Lebanon - Baalbeck: The famous block of stone in Baalbeck. The world's largest building blocks. (Photo AB)
Image 14: Lebanon - Baalbeck: In the top right corner you can see the columns left of the Temple of Jupiter, that's where these blocks were dragged.
Image 15: Lebanon - Baalbeck: This is how they lived, the temple builders from the stone age. Inside the pit - one of many - a bed and shelves are carved out of the rock walls. (Photo CAM)
Image 16: Lebanon - Baalbeck: And here are the building blocks that have been dragged from the quarry to make up the base for the temple of Baalbeck.
Image 17: Lebanon - Baalbeck: The Temple of Baccus to the right, The Temple of Jupiter straight forward. The god Jupiter is here mentioned as I.O.M.A. - Jupiter Optimus Maximus Augustus - compare that with the I.O.W.A - Jehova - of the Bible.
Image 18: Lebanon - Baalbeck: The Temple of Baccus.
Image 19: Lebanon - Baalbeck: The Temple of Baccus.
Image 20: Lebanon - Baalbeck: Small sacrificial altar. Blood and stuff run through small channels through the stone and out under it.
Image 21: Lebanon - Baalbeck: The columns of the Jupiter-temple, AP stands as a comparison.
Image 22: Lebanon - Baalbeck: A marking on a fallen column, the columns were made in segments which were numbered according to their placement. The markings are found between the segments, where CAM has his head on the inset.
Image 23: Lebanon - Baalbeck: And here one steps straight into a pit filled with wild dogs.
Image 24: Lebanon - Baalbeck.
Image 25: Syria - Palmyra: After travelling through Homs we arrive at Palmyra. The atmosphere in Syria is a lot more tensioned than in Lebanon. There are less colours and decorations and the military presence is notable. Homs was by the way a nice hole where the brats spat on our chauffeur when they mistook us for Americans.
Image 26: Syria - Palmyra: Our guides in Palmyra.
Image 27: Syria - Palmyra: The ruined city of Palmyra which lies right next to the modern city of Palmyra. Note the climber.
Image 28: Syria - Palmyra: If you follow the street straight forward you get to the city square, marked by four groups of columns, placed in a square.. On the mountain in the distance the crusader's stronghold can be seen.
Image 29: Syria - Palmyra: The ruins as seen from the crusader's stronghold. I ran up to and around this stronghold in the desert heat, used up quite a lot of water.
Image 30: Syria - Palmyra: Baal himself.
Image 31: Syria - Palmyra: The Temple of Baal.
Image 32: Syria - Palmyra: Inside The Temple of Baal. The inlet is a photo of a sun-bleached wall painting.
Image 33: Syria - Palmyra: Crusader graffiti in the Temple of Baal, the grail in the shape of a cross.
Image 34: Syria - Palmyra: 2000 year old tower tombs outside of Palmyra.
Image 35: Syria - Palmyra: The tower tombs from the inside. These tombs could contain up to 230 mummies, piled up on racks like the tray-racks in our restaurants.
Image 36: Syria - Palmyra: In a newly discovered underground variation of the tower tombs the portraits of the dead are still remaining. Behind each of these sculptures rests a mummy.
Image 37: Syria - Palmyra: Sunset seen from the crusader's stronghold outside of Palmyra.
Image 38: Syria: In the middle of the desert lies this 1500 year old palace, this is the better preserved half.
Image 39: Syria: A beduin tent...
Image 40: Syria: ...and its inhabitants.
Image 45: Jordan: Mount Nebo, where Moses is said to be buried.
Image 42: Syria: If one wish to remain in power here one must be seen and show that one sees. Portraits of the nowadays deceased president come in turns with portraits of the deceased presidents deceased son (closest).
Image 43: Jordan: Ancient Roman amphitheatres can be found everywhere in the Middle East and most of them are still in use. Here they prepare to lay on the butter for German tourists.
Image 44: Jordan: Fully covered, linguistically.
Image 45: Jordan: Mount Nebo, where Moses is said to be buried.
Image 46: Jordan - Nebo: CAM beside a sculpture depicting the staff of Moses, on top of Mount Nebo.
Image 47: Jordan - Nebo: Here one has overlook. The sign points out amongst others Hebron, The Dead Sea, Bethlehem, Jerico etc.
Image 48: Jordan - Nebo: Here he lies somewhere, Moses, together with the Ark Of The Covenant.
Image 49: Jordan: The well and the rock which Moses is said to have knocked it out of. Fully drinkable but that didn't bring me any closer to God.
Image 50: Jordan - Petra: Many wild cats...
Image 51: Jordan - Petra: ...and some ex-wild cats.
Image 52: Jordan - Petra: The end of the long path to the ruined city of Petra through a rocky ravine.
Image 53: Jordan - Petra: The entrance to Petra seen from the temple on the opposite side.
Image 54: Jordan - Petra: The first temple one sees when entering Petra. Rarely deserted like this but it's late and everyone has gone home. If you recall this temple from 'Indiana Jones and the last crusade' then you're recalling correctly.
Image 55: Jordan - Petra: Inside the previously mentioned temple.
Image 56: Jordan - Petra.
Image 57: Jordan - Petra: Natural sandstone formations.
Image 58: Jordan - Petra: An early work by E. Munch or a ufonaut? More possible a citizen of Petra depicted 2000 years ago.
Image 59: Jordan - Petra: The Jade Tomb.
Image 60: Jordan - Petra.
Image 61: Jordan - Petra: The path up towards the largest temple in Petra.
Image 62: Jordan - Petra: And here it is.
Image 63: Jordan - Petra: Big lizard outside previously mentioned temple.
Image 64: Jordan - Petra: Baal's sacrificial altar in Petra. Here has a lot of blood been shed.
Image 65-67: Jordan - Petra.
Image 68: Jordan - Petra: And here a truck gets stuck on the way to Petra.
Image 69: Jordan - Petra: Antiquities for sale on the black market.
Image 70: Jordan - Wadi Rum: Wadi Rum means 'the valley of the moon'. This sacred mountain is called 'The Seven Pillars of Wisdom'.
Image 71: Jordan - Wadi Rum: Lawrence's spring. Lawrence of Arabia hung around here and put his name on a lot of things in the surroundings.
Image 72: Jordan - Wadi Rum: Goats seek shelter from the desert sun.
Image 73: Jordan - Wadi Rum: A wasp's nest.
Image 74: Jordan - Wadi Rum: One of many natural rock bridges. (Photo AP)
Image 75: Jordan - Wadi Rum: The mountain walls are filled with petroglyphs and other signs of ancient civilisations...
Image 76: Jordan - Wadi Rum: ...such as for instance Lawrence's old house.
Image 77: Egypt - Gize: Then we are in Egypt, constitution: bakshish. (Photo AB)
Image 78: Egypt - Gize: The Sphinx, deprived of its nose like all sphinxes, large and small.
Image 79: Egypt - Gize: The small hole in the rear end of the sphinx is its entrance. From there a passage leads up to its head where one can stand and shout to people.
Image 80: Egypt - Gize: AB at the pyramid of Keops.
Image 81: Egypt - Gize: The entrance to Keops' pyramid. I noticed a waterseal in the corridor leading to the Queen's chamber, I believe that this chamber was filled with ankle-deep water via the narrow tunnels in the pyramid in order to create a mirror effect. The ancient egyptians regarded the mirror - ankh - as a portal to other worlds. Legend tells that the queen is 'resting upon the ocean of death'
Image 82: Egypt - Gize: Passage into pyramid. Hot.
Image 83: Egypt - Gize: One of many pyramid chambers, Kefren's pyramid I would assume. The inlet depicts a small fossil I found close to the Queens Chamber in Keops' pyramid.
Image 84: Egypt - Gize: AB and a meditating woman in Mykerinos' pyramid.
Image 85: Egypt - Gize: I saw many falcons in Egypt.
Image 86: Egypt - Gize: CAM shows his book about pyramids around the world. The man in blue to the right is mentioned in the book.
Image 87: Egypt - Gize: Camel attack.
Image 88: Egypt - Gize: The man with the mule is a crazy bastard of a salesman which refused to leave us alone and followed us far out in the desert.
Image 89: Egypt - Daschur: Snofrus broken pyramid. When they built this pyramid they had to change the angle of its sides to ease the pressure since cracks occurred in the pyramid's chamber.
Image 90: Egypt - Daschur: The black pyramid, Amenemhet III's pyramid.
Image 91: Egypt - Daschur: The red arrow marks one of the entrances to the broken pyramid.
Image 92: Egypt - Daschur: Inside the broken pyramid, looking upwards.
Image 93: Egypt - Daschur: Inside the broken pyramid.
Image 94: Egypt - Sakkara: Outside of Djoser's pyramid. No, we didn't run over the dog.
Image 95: Egypt - Sakkara: Djoser's pyramid. Every 30 years a great feast was held at this place where the pharao had to prove that he was able to continue as ruler.
Image 96: Egypt - Sakkara: My pen found as hieroglyph in the tomb of Mere - Ruka.
Image 97: Egypt - Gize: The impression of the pyramids was mostly de-mystifying. They are, when looking at the big picture, just large heaps of stone built by people.
Image 98: Egypt - Cairo: View from the hotel window.
Image 99: Egypt - Cairo: Not much animals in Egypt, hardly any lizards and few cats. They are probably eaten.
Image 100: Egypt - Cairo: Market.
Image 101: Egypt - Cairo: Mosque. The walls still bear marks after Napoleon's cannons.
Image 102: Egypt: 'School for countryside carpet'...
Image 103: Egypt: On the top floor it looks like a fancy carpet store for the tourists...
Image 104: Egypt: ...but if one sneaks down into the cellar one finds child workers ruining their fingers in rows. There are lots of these kind of 'schools', most of them fronts for child labour.
Alejandro Bendezú-Neyra
Carl-Anton Mattsson
Anders Persson

Text written by and other photos taken by Max Magnus Norman.
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