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Palmyra was in the ancient times an important city of central Syria, located in an oasis 215 km northeast of Damascus and 120 km southwest of the Euphrates. It has long been a vital caravan city for travelers crossing the Syrian desert and was known as the Bride of the Desert. The Greek name for the city, Palmyra (Παλμύρα), is a translation of the Aramaic name, Tadmor, which means 'palm tree'. Tadmor is today the name of a small city next to the ruins, heavily dependent on tourism.