From an Antique Land: Ancient and Modern in the Middle East

From an Antique Land: Ancient and Modern in the Middle East

From an Antique Land: Ancient and Modern in the Middle East

From an Antique Land: Ancient and Modern in the Middle East

Excerpt

In 1948, I HAD THE GOOD FORtune of having to visit a number of countries in the Middle East, both before and after the General Conference of Unesco, which was being held that year in Beirut. I say good fortune, and it was good fortune. But it was also hard work. Travelling on Unesco affairs is a high-speed business: there are so many international meetings to attend, so many countries to visit, and there is all the work at headquarters piling up against the hour of one's return. I have been looking at my diary, and am appalled at the amount of ground I covered. My first official journey, paving the way for the Unesco Conference, comprised nine countries, and took me to Rome; Constantinople, Ankara; Beirut, Byblos, Tripoli, Baalbek; Damascus, Amman, Petra, Jerash; Baghdad, Ctesiphon; Teheran, Isfahan; Cairo; Tunisia. My second, for the Conference itself, took me again to Constantinople, for a meeting of the Executive Board; to Beirut and the Lebanon; to Damascus and Palmyra. After the Conference was over, and I was a free man again, my wife and I were invited with the Executive Board to Cairo, whence we were able to visit Ismailia and Luxor; and then we explored various parts of the Lebanon and the Syrian Coast -- the Alawit Mountains, Aleppo, Hama, Homs; Athens, Delphi, Knossos; Paestum and Naples; and so home.

Everywhere I went the kindness of the authorities insisted on supplementing my official contacts and visits to educational and scientific institutions by showing me something of the cultural and historical background of their country.

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