Palmyra was an ancient city in central Syria. In antiquity, it was an important city located in an oasis 215 km northeast of Damascus and 180 km southwest of the Euphrates at Deir ez-Zor. It had long been a vital caravan stop for travellers crossing the Syrian desert and was known as the Bride of the Desert. The earliest documented reference to the city by its Semitic name Tadmor, Tadmur or Tudmur (which means "the town that repels" in Amorite and "the indomitable town" in Aramaic) is recorded in Babylonian tablets found in Mari.
Though the ancient site fell into disuse after the 16th century, it is still known as Tadmor in Arabic (aka Tedmor), and there is a newer town of the same name next to the ruins. The Palmyrenes constructed a series of large-scale monuments containing funerary art such as limestone slabs with human busts representing the deceased