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Many of the finest sites of ancient western culture are to be found in the Muslim world. The lack of development in the Levant and the Magreb have kept the sites from being built over and the stones from being plundered, and the dry climate spared them from decay. A lack of development equates, unfortunately, to a lack of prosperity. These regions have been impoverished for two millennia, a sad fact for the inhabitants, but a bounty for tourists wishing to glimpse the ancient world. Beyond Damascus and Aleppo we visited the remnants of Syria's non-moslem world. From the Roman era, the sites of Apamea (now horribly looted), Bosra and (on the next page) the magnificent ruins of Palmyra. From the early Cristian era, the Cathedral of St Simeon and from the Cursader period, the well preserved Crac d' Chivaliers. We also visited the Aramaic-speaking town of Maaloula, an enclave of Christianity extant before the coming of Islam.