Damascus is the capital of Syria and is a symbol of culture in the Near East. One hundred kilometres from the Mediterranean coast, the strategically located city was once the capital of the Umayyad.
Cannons along with the busts of various presidents and military vehicles are displayed in the large courtyard of the Takiyeh Mosque, an ancient Dervish monastery complex. Built in 1554 and designed by Ottoman master architect, Sinan, it also includes an adjoining inn for the numerous pilgrims who traveled to Mecca.
Damascus has always been much prized, by pharaohs, the Babylonian monarch, Nebukadnezar and later, Alexander The Great. Then came Persian, Roman and Islamic emperors followed by the Crusaders and Mongols.
The Kalaa Citadel is situated on the periphery of the old town that was once surrounded by huge walls. It was from here that Saladin fended off the attacks of the Crusaders. The Romans built a fort here that was constantly extended with impressive walls and towers. Located directly outside the city wall, the Barada River was also of strategic importance. Although the Mongols destroyed the inner buildings, the fortress walls survived.
The Suq is an important part of every Islamic city, a market that originated in ancient times. Thousands of shops in numerous interconnected lanes form the commercial heart of Damascus. In the Gold Suq, everything glitters, bracelets, rings and even a large variety of kitchen utensils.
Damascus has for thousands of years been a place desired by the powerful, yet it has managed to survive and is still the most beautiful capital city in the Near East.