Damascus

  • Though overpopulated and poorly maintained, Damascus, the oldest inhabited city on the planet, still has a lot to offer its visitors. In the jumbled alleyways of the Old Town, antique vestiges and medieval edifices jostle for space. For instance, it was on the ruins of a Roman temple, where a few pillars still stand, that the Grand Mosque of the Omeyyades was erected. You should take time out to admire ...
    © Ivern Photo
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Syria

Though overpopulated and poorly maintained, Damascus, the oldest inhabited city on the planet, still has a lot to offer its visitors. In the jumbled alleyways of the Old Town, antique vestiges and medieval edifices jostle for space. For instance, it was on the ruins of a Roman temple, where a few pillars still stand, that the Grand Mosque of the Omeyyades was erected. You should take time out to admire its magnificent green and golden mosaics, and take a rest. Despite the throngs of visitors (Muslims, especially, here to worship Saint John the Baptist, whose head is reported to be buried here), the place is very peaceful. All around, the hustle and bustle in the Al-Hamadiyyeh souk is in high gear. Excitement is guaranteed with shops brimming with goods, spicy aromas, hookah smokers (present at the Fountain café close to the mosque). Also, take a look at the national museum and its archaeological treasures, as well as the Azem palace that houses the museum of popular Arts and Traditions. The decoration and gardens of this 18th century home are worth beholding. The collections of wax mannequins, albeit slightly kitsch, offer an interesting souvenir of the traditions of the country.

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