Damascus Journals

Are We Damascenes Yet?

A February 1999 trip to Damascus by boosh

Damascus Photo, Damascus, Syria More Photos
Quote: It wasn’t love at first sight. I know if I'd only spent a few days in Damascus I wouldn’t have picked up on its charm. Much of its surface is tarnished but 3 weeks of scratching away revealed a truly beautiful place for which I now get homesick.

Are We Damascenes Yet?

Overview

Damascus Photo, Damascus, Syria
Quote:
First and foremost, the people are what make Damascus so great. And you will meet dozens of them as you explore the old city, the souq (market), the caravanserai, the fantastic mosques and palaces and other spectacular architecture. Interestingly, one of my most memorable places in Damascus is just the little street our hotel was on. The merchants on the street made me feel like I was one of their neighbours; several times a day greeted warmly by the baker, the juice man, the cigarette boy, the falafel guy, the shwarma guy, the tailor, the laundry dude, the barber and the electrician. For a few short weeks I was in an exotic land and at home at the same time. What a treat.Quick Tips: Bes...Read More

Al Haramein

Hotel

Al Haramein Photo, Damascus, Syria
Quote:
Way less than $50 US! I think it was $12 for a triple. Very simple accommodations. Great showers. Use the upstairs toilets only. Very social place. A lot of backpackers who have been where you are going so you can ask a lot of questions. You will also meet the merchants who work on the street as well as the family who runs the hotel. All invaluable resources for an independant traveller not to mention a lot of fun!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 22, 2002

Al Haramein
Bahsa Street
Damascus, Syria
231-9489

Election Celebrations

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "It's Election Time"

Election Celebrations Photo, Damascus, Syria
Quote:
More than an election campaign—it's really a month-long festival: children parading in the streets, bedouin tents with live music at every corner, every building decorated with ribbons and lights, campaign banners stretch high overhead above the streets read slogans like "We have chosen Assad from eternity, until eternity passes away." President Hafez Assad was up for his 5th 7-year term and he won with clean sweep: 99.98% of the vote (Only 218 voted against him). Of course, he was the only candidate; each citizen can either cast a 'yes' or a 'no' vote. I wonder happens to the brave souls who vote ‘no’? According to one story after the 1992 election, Assad's campaign manager called the president...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 22, 2002

Election Celebrations
All over Syria
Damascus, Syria

Umayyad Mosque

Attraction | "Omayyad Mosque"

Umayyad Mosque Photo, Damascus, Syria
Quote:
Easily one of the most exquisite mosques I’ve ever seen. The 8th Century courtyard is enormous and elaborately decorated in mosaic. Inside is quiet, peaceful and relaxing. So much so, some people are having naps. Before entering, I had to don a dark, almost floor-length cloak. I think it cost 10 or 20 cents to rent. What is, no doubt, intended to make me less conspicuous in fact makes me feel even more self-conscious seems to draw even more curious stares.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 21, 2002

Umayyad Mosque
Souq al-Hamidiyya - Old Town
Damascus, Syria

Sayyida Ruqayya Mosque and Mausoleum

Attraction | "Iranian Mosque: From Simple Elegance to Pure Glitz"

Sayyida Ruqayya Mosque and Mausoleum Photo, Damascus, Syria
Quote:
Exquisitely beautiful. Traditional Iranian onion shaped dome. Clean elegance on the outside. Beyond-belief-flashy on the inside. The tomb of Mohammed’s grand daughter is set in the middle of the building. Other Muslims were taking photos inside so we didn’t feel stupid or disrespectful taking the shots below.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 22, 2002

Sayyida Ruqayya Mosque and Mausoleum
Sharia Amara Jouw, Between Umayyad Mosque And Bab Al-faradis
Damascus, Syria

Heritage Mansions of Old Damascus

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Story/Tip

Old Damascus Photo, Damascus, Syria
Quote:
This is definitely off-the-beaten-track-stuff. Originally we ventured into Old Damascus with little more than a hand drawn map from a man we met at the hotel. The challenge in finding these places is that there are no addresses and they typically have plain-jane entrances which reveal nothing about the inner grandeur; just midget-sized doors right off the street. Luckily we met a young man, Beshr, an architect working on the committee to preserve Old Damascus who took us to each of the places below. With these names, a decent map, and some help along the way you should be able to find these exquisite examples of Damascene architecture and design (and probably more like them). Beshr first explain...Read More