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Palmyra's wealth enabled the construction of monumental projects, such as the Great Colonnade, the Temple of Bel, and the distinctive tower tombs.

ISIL sabotaged many artifacts and destroyed a number of buildings, considerably damaging the ancient site.According to the suggestion by Schultens, "Palmyra" could have arisen as a corruption of "Tadmor", via an unattested form "Talmura", changed to "Palmura" by influence of the Latin word palma (date "palm"), The second view, supported by some philologists, such as Jean Starcky, holds that Palmyra is a translation of "Tadmor" (assuming that it meant palm), which had derived from the Greek word for palm, "Palame".An alternative suggestion connects the name to the Syriac tedmurtā (ܬܕܡܘܪܬܐ) "miracle", hence tedmurtā "object of wonder", from the root dmr "to wonder"; this possibility was mentioned favourably by Franz Altheim and Ruth Altheim-Stiehl (1973), but rejected by Jean Starcky (1960) and Michael Gawlikowski (1974).Circumstantial evidence exist for confrontations with the Sasanians; probably in 269 Vaballathus took the title Persicus Maximus ("The great victor in Persia") and the title might be linked with an unrecorded battle against a Persian army trying to regain control of Northern Mesopotamia.Palmyra was conquered by the Rashidun Caliphate after its 634 capture by the Muslim general Khalid ibn al-Walid, who took the city on his way to Damascus; an 18-day march by his army through the Syrian Desert from Mesopotamia.

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