Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Walking Old Damascus (3)

I can never get enough of Old Damascus, but for those of you who are bored already, I will only do one more after this one. And my friends, I am only skimming the surface – Damascus can keep you busy and happy for a long time. Along one of our favorite streets, Al Qamariyya, we saw a sign that said Calligraphy and Lute instruction, and we looked at each other with a grin – we could be happy for weeks learning lute and calligraphy!

We had met up with an old friend who loves Damascus as we do, and he suggested a walk OUTSIDE the walls, from Bab Thouma (Thomas’ gate) to the Bab Es Salaam, which we did. The Bab Thouma is only a five minute walk from our hotel, straight up al Hijari, crossing Street Called Straight where it becomes Sharia Bab Thouma – how easy can it be?

The walk along the northern outside walls in this section is spectacular. For one thing, look at the differing levels of construction in this, one of the remaining walls of Old Damascus:

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From outside the northern wall, looking north toward the mountains:

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Then you come to the Gate of Peace/ Bab es Salaam:

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There is a whirl of reconstruction going on in the old city. Some fear modernizations which will change the character of the old town, but others say that the restrictions won’t allow that to happen – we shall see:

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Here is what we love – in every country, you will find volunteer supervisors where construction or reconstruction are going on:

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One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to Ananias’ chapel. This is not the actual spot where Ananias baptized Paul, a mosque has been built over that site (It is called the Jakmak Mosque and you can see it in the long covered souk at the beginning of the Street Called Straight) but this is the church/chapel which commemorates that baptism, and it is very beautiful.
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Time for a cup of coffee, and to plan the next walking expedition, and we find this wonderful cafe next to the church at Bab Sharqi:

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We think there is a museum for the Hijaz Railway, which fascinates AdventureMan, but this is all we can find:

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At our friend’s recommendation, we also try the Old Town restaurant, and we like it so much we go there twice:

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Nice to have some pasta for a change, and the pasta here is really good!

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Interesting old balcony:

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I keep looking for the Issa/Jesus spire of the Umayyad mosque, and I think this might be it, but I am not sure. Legend has it that this is where Jesus will prevail over the forces of darkness and evil on the Last Day.

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We are told you MUST make a stop at Leila’s, near the Ummayad Mosque, near the Hamadiyya Souks, and so we do. It is very conveniently located when you are shopping for visiting the mosque:

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They had a Baba Ghannoush there unlike any I have had before, but very much like something we used to eat in Tunisia, called mechoia – grilled eggplant and peppers and garlic, with a very smokey taste. Yummmmy!

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You know me and light fixtures – this is one of the Leila lamps:

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Tomorrow I will take you to our absolute favorite restaurant in Damascus, and finish up the trip, I promise, as much as I hate to leave!

(Happy Islamic New Year!)

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January 10, 2008 - Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Building, Cold Drinks, Cultural, Education, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Travel | , , , , , , ,

12 Comments »

  1. wow your pics of Syria are amazing! i’ve been there but didnt experience anything like that. in fact, i hated it. :/

    Comment by This Lady | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  2. I went to Syria and it was a big mistake i have done in my life! I hated every min of it from the airport to bloudan!

    Comment by Ameen | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  3. Lady, different places have different appeals – like in the TAG we just did – I shudder at both New York and Hollywood, even Washington DC – and I guess my camera loves Damascus because I do. I would love to see the cities YOU love (hint hint!)

    Ameen – yeh, some people feel that way. Some people find it too old fashioned, even too dirty. We saw a lot of Gulf people visiting while we were there.

    We have a long loving history with Damascus, and so for us, it was the best visit.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 10, 2008 | Reply

  4. IntlXpatr

    Thank you for sharing your travel experiences; I love the photos and the commentary and your insights are simply wonderful. I felt I was there.

    Please post as much as you can about your trip. It’s fascinating for me and I am sure for many others :)

    Comment by jewaira | January 11, 2008 | Reply

  5. Lady J – It’s how I got started writing – sending e-mails about my trips to my 300 closest friends. It sort of evolved into blogging. Thank you for your encouragement. I feel the same about your travel stories (London, etc.) :-)

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 11, 2008 | Reply

  6. amazing to eternalize the oldest capital ever in a photo… but reality is more amazing… back home you can see Damascus the beautiful lady showered with its unique jasmine’s fragrance… where you feel that you must have a love story with each stone belong to Cham… you must smile in front of its simplicity… and you must knee in front of its great honor…
    Still alot to say but words are too poor to exprese reality… and too weak to carry feelings..
    MISS YOU DAMASCUS

    Comment by Asal | January 28, 2008 | Reply

  7. Asal, we hadn’t been for many years, and we were afraid we wouldn’t feel the same as before. We loved her even more. What a city.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 28, 2008 | Reply

  8. [...] Walking Old Damascus (3)One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to Ananias’ chapel. This is not the actual spot where Ananias baptized Paul, a mosque has been built over that site (It is called the Jakmak Mosque and you can see it in the long covered … [...]

    Pingback by Damascus » Blog Archive » Abu Shadi - The Storyteller of Damascus | February 7, 2008 | Reply

  9. The pics you took are beautiful. I’ve been in Damascus for two years and I still feel the same sense of awe, of revere when I walk the old streets. Dirty and chaotic they may be, but that some how adds to their appeal.
    Well… at least for me it does :)

    Thanks for sharing. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay :)

    S&S

    Comment by souvenirsandscars | October 3, 2008 | Reply

  10. Hello, S&S – you really touched a chord in me; as I read your entry, I yearn to return to Damascus. There is something in that city that sings to my soul. I even told my husband I would love to buy a house there and spend the rest of my life there. At least, I really would love to go back again sometime soon. Lucky lucky you, if you are still there.

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 3, 2008 | Reply

  11. Beautiful Syria, beautiful Dimashq! I love this Country and his people, I everyday think and pray for them all.

    Comment by cri | August 19, 2013 | Reply

    • Oh, Cri, I so agree. My heart breaks for Syria, for our friends there. God willing, this warfare will end and peace and prosperity will be established.

      Comment by intlxpatr | September 5, 2013 | Reply


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