Palmyra is a city in central Syria, administratively part of the Homs Governorate. It is located in an oasis in the middle of the Syrian Desert 215 kilometres northeast of Damascus and 180 kilometres southwest of the Euphrates River. The ruins of ancient Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are situated about 500 metres southwest of the modern city centre. Relatively isolated, the nearest localities include Arak to the east, Al-Sukhnah further to the northeast, Tiyas to the west and al-Qaryatayn to the southwest.
Palmyra is the administrative centre of the Tadmur District and the Tadmur Subdistrict. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics, the city had a population of 51,323 and the subdistrict a population of 55,062 in the 2004 census. Tadmur's inhabitants were recorded to be Sunni Muslims in 1838. During the Syrian Civil War, the city's population significantly increased due to the influx of internally displaced refugees from other parts of the country.