Towers of Yemliko

sights / Architecture

Towers of Yemliko information

Palmyra , Syria
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To the south of the city wall at the foot of low hills is a series of variously sized, freestanding, square-based towers. Known as the Towers of Yemliko, they were constructed as multistorey burial chambers, stacked high with coffins posted in pigeonhole-like niches. The niches, or loculi, were then sealed with a stone panel carved with a head and shoulders portrait of the deceased; you can see dozens of these stone portraits in the Palmyra Museum, and in the National Museum at Damascus.

The tallest of the towers - at four storeys high - is the most interesting. It dates from AD 83 and although it is kept locked you can peer in through the barred entrance. There is also an interesting carved lintel above the doorway and an inscription further up identifying the family interred within. A rough path winds up behind the towers to the top of a rocky saddle for a wonderful view of the Palmyrene landscape.