Tourism

General Information
More Information
Distance between the Syrian Cities

Flag and Anthem

Syrian Cities

Southern Provinces

Damascus
Historical Spots of Damascus
Damascus Province

Mid-West Provinces

Homs
Palmyra
Hama
Apamea
Syrian Coast
Summer resorts
Historical Spots

North-Eastern Provinces

Aleppo
Raqa
Deir Ezzor

 


LAND MARKS OF OLD DAMASCUS

  • The Walls and the Gates:

The Wall was built in the Roman era with large, tapered stones.It was oblong in shape, designed in the manner of Roman military camps, cities, and fortifications.There are seven gates in it:Bab Sharqi, Bab al-Jabieh, Bab Keissan, Bab al-Saghir, Bab Tuma, Bab al-Jeniq, and Bab al-Faradiss.The main thoroughfare traversed the city from Bab al-Jabieh to Bab Sharqi; on both sides there were Corinthian columns, and across it numerous triumphal arches.

  • The Ommayad Mosque

This great Mosque stands at the heart of the Old City at the end of Souq al-Hamidiyeh.It was built by the Omayyad Caliph al-Walid ibn Abdul Malek in 705 A.D. when Damascus was the capital of the Arab Islamic Empire.
When al-Walid decided to erect an impressive mosque suited to the grandeur of the Arab state 'whose like was never built before, nor will ever be built after' as he is reported to have said, he negotiated with the Christian community of Damascus, and undertook to construct a new church for them (St.John's) and allot several pieces of land for other churches, if they relinquished their right to their part of the Mosque.They agreed.It took ten years and eleven million gold dinars, as well as a huge number of masons, artists, builders, carpenters, marble-layers, and painters to complete.It became an architectural model for hundreds of mosques throughout the Islamic world.

  • The Azem Palace:

This also stands at the heart of the Old City, on the southern side of the Omayyad Mosque, and very close to it.It is an astonishing example of a Damascene house, where the simple, almost primitive, exterior contrasts rather sharply with the beauty and sophistication of the interior.Here one finds a sense of space, a wealth of polychrome stone, splendid marble, cascading fountains, and fragrant flowers.The palace was built in the mid-eighteenth century for the Governor of Damascus.
 

  • The Damascus Citadel:

The only fortress in Syria built on the same level as the city, it does not top a hill or a mountain like all other castles and citadels.It was erected by the Seljuks in 1078 A.D. with masonry taken from the city wall, and turned into a heavily-fortified citadel surrounded by walls, towers, a moat and trenches.Inside, they built houses, baths, mosques, and schools; it was a city within a city.At the height of Crusader raids and attacks, it was used as residence for the Sultans of Egypt and Syria such as Nureddin, Saladin, and al-Malek al-Abdel, whence they supervised military operations against the Crusaders.

  • The Souqs

The old covered souqs of Damascus have a unique flavour you can savour with eyes closed.As you walk about in the warm darkness of these streets with their fragrant scents, spices, and colourful merchandise spilling out of the shops onto the pavements, you enter the strange world of exotic legends.Most prominent of these souqs are:

  • Souq Al Hamidiyeh :

Follows a straight line from the west (where Bab al-Nasr used to be) to the Omayyad Mosque.It dates back to 1863, to the rule of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul-Hamid, after whom the souq was called.It is covered with high iron vaulting, so old that sun rays filter through it into the darkness of the souq.The shops here sell everything from tissues to leather-work, from sweets and ice-cream to exquisite handmade brocades, mosaic, and copper inlaid with silver.
 

  • Souq Midhat Basha:

(The Long Souq): Founded by the governor of Damascus Midhat Pasha in 1878.It stands above the Roman 'Street Called Straight' which used to traverse the city from Bab al-Jabieh to Bab Sharqi, and runs parallel to souq al-Hamidiyeh, with numerous side-souqs separating them.

  • Souq Al Harir:

Founded by Darwish Pasha in 1574.Its entrance is at the end of souq al-Hamidiyeh just outside the Omayyad Mosque.Its shops are filled with local embroidered cloths, perfume essence, and tailoring and sewing requisites.Here, too, a number of old khans have been converted into shops, best known for their cloaks, capes, mantles, shawls, and 'galabiyas'.

  • Souq Al Bzourieh:

Extends between Souq Midhat Pasha and the Omayyad Mosque and is famous for its quaint little fruit, medicinal herbs, and confectionery.
In the middle of this souq stands a bath (one of the two hundred public baths) which has been in continuous use from the twelfth century.

 

LANDMARKS OF THE NEW CITY

The National Museum:

The National Museum of Damascus is generally recognised as one of the finest of its kind in the world.Visitors can see artifacts of the great civilisations that emerged and flourished in Syria.There are thousands of statues, stamps, pieces of jewerelly, weapons, precious stones; sculpture, masks, tablets, textiles, mosaics, glass-work and earthenware, coins, and manuscripts from the ancient Syrian kingdoms of Ebla, Ugarit, Palmyra, Tel Sukas, Mari, Doura Europos, Bosra, Shahba and others.

  • Al Takieh - Suleimanieh

A remarkable example of Ottoman architecture; it was built by order of Sultan Suleiman al-Qanouni (hence the name) in 1554.It was erected on the site of the famous palace of Zhaher Bybars, and designed by the celebrated architect Sinan.Most striking are its two elegant minarets.

  • The City of Damascus Historical Museum:


An eighteenth-century building, which, like al-Azem Palace, is considered a fine example of old Damascene houses.It contains historical documents relating to the inhabitants of the city of Damascus.

  • Al Salhieh:

Situated at the foot of Mount Qassiun which overlooks Damascus.Building in this area started in the eleventh century to accommodate refugees arriving from Jerusalem following the Crusader occupation of the city.Here you find numerous old schools and hospitals, as well as mosques and the shrines of prominent Muslim thinkers and Sufi leaders such as Muheiddin Ibn Arabi and Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi.In the Muheiddin district, a colossal wooden noria was erected in the thirteenth century, based on design made by al-Jazri, the leading mechanic of his time.It lifted water from the river Yazid to a height of 12 metres to supply al-Qaimarieh Hospital at al-Salhieh.It is the only one remaining of a great many norias that were scattered all over the district.There is still an alley called the Noria Alley.

  • St Paul's Church

Is situated behind Bab Keissan, one of the gates in the old wall encircling Damascus.
It commemorates the memory of St.Paul, whose name was Saul of Tarsus, charged by the Roman to persecute the Christians.

 

Copyright 1997- 2009 New World Design - Webmaster@visit-syria.com