With a population of 200,000, the Roman city of Palmyra prospered despite its location in the desert.
Now a crumbling ruin, the once prosperous city would have been a bustling trade hub and oasis in the middle of what was otherwise a dry, infertile desert. To learn more about what made Palmyra so successful, archaeologists have been studying the surrounding area using ground inspections and satellite images. What they found was an extensive series of farming villages within less than a day's walk of the city along with man-made reservoirs and channels laid out between them.
It seems that not only was the area host to extensive farming but that the engineers of the day had found a way to provide water to the city as well. It is thought that the city prospered up until around 700 AD after which time it had started to fall in to ruin.
"Today it's a mirage-like expanse of monumental ruins."
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Source: National Geographic
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