Despite having been used in numerous
Hollywood movies, it still retains charm and interest even if slightly
blighted by a fake Babylonian gateway...in a UNESCO protected site!
The main town was largely abandoned when a water main
was installed across the river. According to our
guide, the locals had been walking miles every day to get water as the river
was not suitable for drinking; big question as to why they built a town
there in the first place. However, some
remain, even if only as custodians of the old houses which are now museums,
or the imam, keeping the mosque alive.
We had tried to ignore
the guide who thrust himself upon us, on the basis that we could see
perfectly well what we wanted to without his help. His perseverance
was eventually rewarded, mainly because he turned out to actually know what
he was talking about rather than just stating the blindingly obvious: "...and this is another house..."
He also led us into old
buildings we may well have missed and, perhaps most importantly, kept the
other would-be guides and trinket sellers at bay.