Today, many only know Syria as a geopolitical disaster and humanitarian crisis depicted in traditional media. Through his book of photography, Kevin Bubriski presents a poignant look into a time before years of civil turmoil took their toll on the land and its people. Shot in 2003, a hundred black-and-white photos—offered with brief written context—capture the dignity and prominence of several of Syria’s oldest and most captivating cities, including Aleppo, Palmyra and the Dead Cities (abandoned Roman- and Byzantine-era settlements in northern Syria). The collection preserves, at least visually, Syria’s heritage, and becomes an essential archive for enthusiasts of the region. This is especially important to those who wonder if others can ever experience the Syria they knew—a place that was bustling, hospitable and simple. In one haunting picture, a young woman with furrowed brows and flowing hair clutches an object in her sun-scorched hand. Her face, garments and jewelry hint at an untold story, leaving the reader wanting to know more. That is the enigmatic beauty of this book.