. Damascus is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo.Commonly known in Syria as ash Sham and nicknamed as the City of Jasmine .In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major cultural and religious center of the Levant.The city has an estimated population of 1,711,000 (2009 est.).Located in southwestern Syria, Damascus is the center of a large metropolitan area of 2.6 million people (2004). Geographically embedded on the eastern foothills of the Anti Lebanon mountain range 80 kilometres (50 mi) inland from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean on a plateau 680 metres (2,230 ft) above sea level, Damascus experiences a semi arid climate due to the rain shadow effect.The Barada River flows through Damascus.
. The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus ?, Romanization, located in the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world.It is considered by some Muslims to be the fourth holiest place in Islam.After the Arab conquest of Damascus in 634, the mosque was built on the site of a Christian basilica dedicated to John the Baptist (Yahya), honored as a prophet by Christians and Muslims alike.A legend dating to the 6th century holds that the building contains the head of John the Baptist.The mosque is also believed by Muslims to be the place where Jesus (Isa) will return at the End of Days.The tomb of Saladin stands in a small garden adjoining the north wall of the mosque.
. The National Museum of Damascus is a large museum in the heart of Damascus, Syria.The most popular part of the museum is the reconstruction of the 2nd century AD Dura Europos synagogue.
. Azm Palace is a palace in Damascus, Syria which was originally built in 1750 as a residence for the Ottoman governor of Damascus Asad Pasha al Azm.The palace now houses the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions.The architecture is an excellent example of Damascene traditional houses.The structure itself consists of several buildings and two wings: the harem and the selamlik.The harem is the family wing, which was a private space for the residents (originally, the Azm family).This wing includes the kitchen, servant quarters, and the baths, which are a replica of the public baths in the city but on a smaller scale.The salamlik is the guest wing, and it comprises the formal halls, reception areas and large courtyards with traditional cascading fountains.
Sayyidah Ruqayya Mosque
. Sayyidah Ruqayya Mosque is a shrine located in Damascus, Syria, that contains the grave of Sukayna (nee Ruqayyah), the infant daughter of Husayn ibn Ali.After enduring the advent of Karbala and the torturous journey to Damascus that followed it, Sukayna died at the age of four in Yazids prison, where she was originally buried.Years later however, upon the flooding of her gravesite, her grave was reopened and she was moved to the site where the Mosque now stands.The mosque was built around the mausoleum in 1985 and exhibits the modern style of Iranian architecture, with a tremendous amount of mirror and gold work.There is a small mosque area adjoining the shrine room, along with a small courtyard in front.This mosque is found a short distance from the Umayyad Mosque and the Al Hamidiyah Souq in central Damascus.
. Mount Qasioun is a mountain overlooking the city of Damascus, Syria.It has a range of restaurants, from which the whole city can be viewed.As the city has expanded over the years, some districts have been established on the foot of the mountain.Its highest point is 1,151 metres (3,776 ft).The mountain has been heavily entrenched with Syrian regime armed forces since the start of the Syrian civil war.On the slopes of Jabal Qasiun is a cave steeped in legend.It is said to have been inhabited at one point by the first man Adam and there are various stories told about Ibrahim (Abraham), and isa (Jesus) also having prayed in it.It is mentioned however in Medieval Arab history books as having been the place where Qabil (Cain) killed Habil (Abel). It was known for hundreds of years as a place where prayers were immediately accepted, and especially in times of drought rulers of Damascus would climb to cave and pray for rain.Because of the murder that took place there, claimed to be the first murder ever in the world, it is called Magharat al Dam (the Cave of Blood). According to Sunni Muslims, Mount Qasioun is the site of the mi?rabs (prayer niches) of the 40 saints, known as the Abdal, who are said to pray the night vigil prayers every night a small mosque has been built over the Cave of Blood containing these mi?rabs.
House of Saint Ananias
. The House of Saint Ananias (also called Chapel of Saint Ananias) is an ancient underground structure in Damascus, Syria, that is alleged to be the remains of the home of Ananias of Damascus, where Ananias baptized Saul (who became Paul the Apostle). Archaeological excavations in 1921 found the remains of a Byzantine church from the 5th or 6th century CE, adding physical evidence to support local tradition that the chapel has an early Christian origin. The building is at the end of the Street Called Straight near the Bab Sharqi (Eastern Gate).As of 2005, the structure was still in use as a church.
Mausoleum of Saladin
. The Mausoleum of Saladin holds the resting place and grave of the medieval Muslim Ayyubid Sultan Saladin.It is located next to the northwest corner of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria. The mausoleum was built in 1196, three years after the death of Saladin.It was once part of the al Aziziyah madrasah, but nothing remains of the school.The mausoleum itself is rather small and modest.The main square chamber displays ablaq walls and holds four arches capped by a cupola. Drawing on its history, the interior shows a remarkable mix of Hohenzollern, Ayyubid and Ottoman architecture. The room holds two sarcophagi.The original one, a wooden tomb, richly decorated with geometric and astral patterns, holds Saladins body.The second one, is a marble coffin which was a gift from Emperor Wilhelm II.The marble sarcophagus has remained empty because the wooden sarcophagus did not need replacing and was intended as a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm to show his respect to the Syrian people.The mausoleum also holds another chamber which is used for Quranic recitation, and is accessible from the eastern side, in addition to five smaller rooms along the northern side of the building.
Khan As ad Pasha
. Khan Asad Pasha is the largest khan in the Old City of Damascus, covering an area of 2,500 square metres (27,000 sq ft).Situated along Al Buzuriyah Souq, it was built and named after Asad Pasha al Azm, the governor of Damascus, in 175152. Khan Asad Pasha has been described as one of the finest khans of Damascus, and the most ambitious work of architecture in the city. Throughout the Ottoman era, it hosted caravans coming from Baghdad, Mosul, Aleppo, Beirut and elsewhere in the Middle East.The building follows a typical Ottoman khan layout with two floors giving onto a central courtyard.Khan Asad Pasha is entered from Suq al Buzuriyyah, through a monumental gateway decorated with stone carvings and roofed by a muqarnas semi dome.The entrance leads to a square shaped courtyard with old shops on the ground floor.The second floor, accessible by a staircase located to the right of the main entrance, was used mainly for lodging and has eighty rooms arranged along a gallery facing the courtyard.
. The Tekkiye Mosque is a mosque complex in Damascus, Syria, located on the banks of the Barada River. The complex is composed of a large mosque on the southwest side of a courtyard, flanked by a single line of arcaded cells, and a soup kitchen across the courtyard to the northwest, flanked by hospice buildings. It has been described as The finest example in Damascus of Ottoman architecture.
. Maktab Anbar is an old house in the center of Old Damascus near the Umayyad Mosque and a short distance from the Street Called Straight.The house was built as a private residence by a local Jewish notable Mr.Anbar in the mid 19th century and was later confiscated by the Ottoman government after Mr.Anbar went bankrupt.The house is built around three courtyards, first the formal reception courtyard, behind this the attractive female courtyard, and finally the spartan servants courtyard.The main sections were completed at tremendous expense, and due to high costs Mr.Anbar abandoned the project In 1887.The Ottomans, who had been occupying Syria for almost four centuries, completed the project adding two wings and converting the house into a boys school, which officially became the Damascus Civil Preparatory School.
Fakhr al Din al Maani Castle
. The castle is thought to have been built by the Mamluks in the 13th century on a high hill overlooking the historic site of Palmyra, and is named for the Druze emir Fakhr al Din II, who extended the Druze domains to the region of Palmyra during the 16th century.The site of the castle and Palmyra in 1980 became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of the monumental ruins of a great city, which was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.The site was designated a national monument in Syria and a buffer zone was established in 2007.The castle lying on raised bedrock was a well defended position for a fortification with thick and high walls, which was also surrounded by a moat that had only one access available through a drawbridge.The historic site in 2013 was placed on the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger due to the ongoing Syrian civil war.The Syrian government reported that there have been illegal excavation acts in unexplored tombs in Palmyra.There are also pictures that appear to show government tanks using the Roman colonnaded road.
. Located in the north of the historic Old City, Babel Faradees (Gate of Paradise), or Bab al Amara, is one of Damascus seven ancient gates.It was named so because it had been surrounded by water and gardens during the Roman era.
. Babel Faraj, in the north of Old Damascus, is another one of the seven ancient city gates.The interior dates back to its original construction, while the exteriors most recent renovation took place in 1948.
Malek Seifoddin Tower
. Malek Seifoddin Tower is located on the northeast corner of the Damascus Citadel, near Babel Faraj.This impressive historic construction takes you back to the citys glorious past, reminding one of its long history.
. Qalaa Garden is a beautiful exotic garden located near the ancient Damascus Citadel.This gift from the Swiss houses wonderful plants and gorgeous flowers and offers a spectacular view of the city.
. The Citadel of Damascus is a large medieval fortified palace.It is part of the Ancient City of Damascus, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.The location of the current citadel was first fortified in 1076 by the Turkman warlord Atsiz bin Uvak.After the assassination of Atsiz bin Uvak, the project was finished by the Seljuq ruler Tutush I.The emirs of the subsequent Burid and Zengid dynasties carried out modifications and added new structures to it.During this period, the citadel and the city were besieged several times by Crusader and Muslim armies.In 1174, the citadel was captured by Saladin, the Ayyubid sultan of Egypt, who made it his residence and had the defences and residential buildings modified.
Darol Hadeeth Al Ashrafiah
. Darol Hadeeth Al Ashrafiah is an old school and mosque built by Sultan Al Malek Mousa Al Ashraf Al Ayyobi in 1120.Such prominent Muslim scholars as Ben Al Salah, Al Nawawi, Al Sobki, Al Zahabi, Abo Shamah and Al Harastani are known to have studied here.
Madrasah Al Osrooniah
. Madrasah Al Osrooniah, one of the oldest schools in Damascus, was built by Ben Osroon Al Tamimi in 1017.After a fire in 1954, the school was turned into a market, named Asrooniah.Inside its library, Aagafha Halabi, you will find the tomb of Ben Osroon.
Al Sayda Ruqaiya Shrine
. This modern oriental style mosque is the product of a mass renovation project that took place in 1990 on the original mosque that houses the shrine of Lady Ruqaiya the daughter of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mouhamed.After her father Husseins death in 681, Lady Ruqaiya came to Damascus, which was the capital of the Umayyad Empire by then, and she died there.
. This grand Roman gate was named Bab Sharqi, the east gate in Arabic, due to its location on the eastern side of the old city.Dedicated to the sun, it is one of the seven Roman gates of Damascus old city.Bab Sharqi was built in the early 3rd century as the only gate on the old city wall with three passages, and that was during the reign of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus.The Arab leader Khaled Bin Al Waleed, the head of the Arab forces, entered Damascus without a fight through this gate in the middle of the 7th century paving the way for the establishment of the Umayyad Empire.Saint Paul also entered Damascus through this gate few centuries earlier, and his conversion to Christianity there has lead this religion spread throughout the old world.
Bab Kissan and Saint Paul Chapel
. Bab Kissan is one of the seven Roman gates of Damascus old city, and it was dedicated to the planet Saturn.Nowadays however, it is best associated with Saint Paul the Apostle who down this gate in a basket to escape persecution after converting to Christianity.Using the original stones of Bab Kissan, a small chapel dedicated to Saint Paul was built just behind the gate.
. Straight Street, or Souq Midhat Pasha as it is known today, is the biblical street called straight, which still kept its path since the Roman age.It is the central street of the old city with a length of around 1500m stretching from the west at Bab Al Jabieh to the east at Bab Sharqi.Today, the street is referred to as Souq Midhat Pasha in relation to the huge market, which the Ottoman governor of Damascus Midhat Pasha had established along the street in the second half of the 19th century.The original Roman street is buried around 6m under the current level, and parts of its remains have been dug up in various excavations.These remains can be seen decorating parts of the existing street, particularly towards the Bab Sharqi end.
Al Madrasa Al Zahiriya
. Al Madrasa Al Zahiriya Dates back to the second half of the 11th century during Mamluk period.King Said built this beautiful Islamic school to house the tomb of his father Al Zahir Baibars.
Al Bimaristan Al Nouri
. Seljuq king Nour Eddine Zengi commissioned the building of this ancient hospital in the middle of the 12th century.Al Bimaristan Al Nouri is a beautiful example of Seljuq architecture, and today it serves as a museum for Arab medicine.