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*I was fortunate enough to travel to Syria and see the country in 2008, three years before the war broke out. This homage is a reminder, the story about the country with immense cultural heritage, posted here with the wholehearted wish for peace to be restored and cities rebuilt.

If you had a chance to travel to the Middle East, chances are that you might have visited Damascus Syria as well. The memory of the journey will stick with you for life.

Being turbulent for centuries, the region carries the weight of its heritage, endless wars, and clashes of civilizations and religions that will make you stand in awe of the rich history, numerous monuments, and culture that date back to a few thousand years BC.

Damascus Syria

People on the streets of the Syrian capital

So many things took off from here and spread to the rest of the world, but also – so many of them got destroyed here, once and for all. History facts, ruins, beliefs, legends, and stories are all to be found here – at the crossroads between the East and the West. So much so that you will be bound to feel the energy of the region in every step you take, no matter what country you are in and what situation is currently underway.

Selling goods Glimpses of the World

DAMASCUS SYRIA: Improvised stalls

This is not „just another“ Dubai that sprung up during the past few decades (with all due respect), or „just another“ place to visit. This is the Middle East, a lot more than you can „just visit” as a tourist.

Damascus Syria

Well, guys, welcome to Syria.

It so happened that I was coming to Syria from Turkey in 2008. It was immediately clear that I left Europe, and that there were no more green, hilly areas rich in water and forest. This is where the desert starts, this is where you move further towards the East, the crossroad, the mixture of various vivid and dynamic worlds, since olden times.

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One of the passages in the Old Town

Here, I saw Damascus Syria, Hama, Maaloula, Aleppo, and also one of the probably best-preserved Roman heritage sites in the world thus far, the magical pearl of the desert – the town of Palmyra Syria.

Damascus History

Cited in Egyptian and Mesopotamian sources in the 2nd millennium BC, Damascus is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world that existed for over 5,000 years.

Syrian capital

DAMASCUS SYRIA: Narrow streets of the Old Town

The hieroglyphic tablets found in Egypt say that the city of Dimashka was conquered in the 15th century BC. Among other things, the area owes its appealing position to the Brada River. The settlement developed rapidly on its banks.

The place was mostly inhabited by the Aramaic people between 1,000 and 700 BC, but the regular city plan was given by the Greeks who were then driven away by the Nabataeans in the 1st century BC. If you don’t know who the Nabataeans were, let me just remind you that they built the famous ancient city of Petra in neighboring Jordan.

After the Romans came to town, Damascus became a Roman province with a circle of walls, cut by numerous gates of which some vestiges remain.

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Interesting way to display carpets

Damascus Syria was so important that it was targeted by King David, by the Assyrians, Nabuchodonosor from Babylonia, and the Persians. Alexander the Great took over the city in 333 BC.

In ancient times, the town served as a military base for combating Persians. The Byzantine Empire came afterward, and then Crusaders tried to penetrate the city, followed by the Mongols and then the Ottoman Empire.

The old Souk in Damascus Syria

One has to go through one of the oldest gates to enter the Old Town Damascus where the straight wide street begins taking you through the famous souk right to the Great Mosque of Damascus.

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DAMASCUS SYRIA: Colorful stores in the souk

The main path in the Souk al Hamidiyah is covered and bordered by numerous shops on both sides. At first, it might be somewhat difficult to discern anything in such colorful scenery, packed with gold jewelry and numerous dresses in all the colors you can imagine.

There are also heavy perfume scents coming from stores. Keep in mind that people here prefer strong sweet perfumes. Luckily, the passage is wide enough so that you don’t have to wiggle your way through the crowd. Also, you can easily avoid any of those persistent merchants which sometimes comes in handy.

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The main passageway through the souk

Unlike the souk in Aleppo before the war, merchants here were not that determined to go after you until you bought something.

When you turn from Souk al Hamidiyah, there are numerous other sections and small passageways, each dedicated to one type of goods. Thus, there were separate souk sections for male clothes, spices, and jewelry, but you could find carved pieces of furniture, carpets in all the colors imaginable, tablecloths, shoes, camel skin wallets – and a lot more!

Next: GREAT MOSQUE OF DAMASCUS

The full Syria SERIES

Old Town Damascus

 

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Comments:

  • 11/04/2017

    Great article! As a female traveler – did you had to cover your hair while traveling to Syria?

    reply...
  • couplertw

    12/04/2017

    I would love to go to syria, particularly to damascus, but that won’t happen soon… Well, we can allways read about it , can´t we? 🙂 Thank you for sharing

    reply...
  • 12/04/2017

    What a beautiful city. So amazing to see these photos too of normal life in Syria – these will be treasured forever. It’s so sad what has happened but you’re very fortunate to have been able to visit before.

    reply...
  • 17/04/2017

    Damascus has such a rich history! I did not know it was the oldest inhabited city. I would love to check out the souk someday.

    reply...
  • 29/04/2017

    Thanks for offering a glimpse of the city it was, before all that happened destroyed what seemed like an incredible place.

    reply...

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