Dec 24, 2006 - road to damascus series    Comments Off

Road to Damascus 13 – Damascus the Old City

Description of Damascus the Old City

A lane in Damascus's Old City

Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Originally Damascus was surrounded by strong citadel walls. Within these walls is the ‘Old City’. The whole area around the ‘Old City’ was at one time farms, groves, orchards and olive vineyards.

There is a legend that when the prophet (s) came to Syria he stood on top of Jabl Qasyoun — the mountain overlooking this area. Looking down upon Damascus’s gardens and beauty, he said he did not wish to enter Jannah (heaven) in this life, so he and his companions turned back. As Damascus grew, some of the wealthier citizens started building homes along the slopes of the mountain. Then immigrants settled along it’s slopes including Kurds who are still there today in good numbers.

The Old City is just SubhanAllah like walking through time. There is SO much history there. There are old madrasas and schools, beautiful Damascene houses (see Azem palace pics if u haven’t), the Ummayad Mosque, old souks, hospitals. Walking down some of the narrow alleyways in the Old City you feel like you are living in 12th Century Damascus. It is almost completely unchanged. I mean Sahabah walked here! Did you know Bilal (ra) and many other Sahaba came to live in Damascus. Amazing, great scholars lived here. Famous Muslim people in history like great women scholars and Salahuddin! This is what Damascus is and why everyone who comes here falls in love with it.

So the first few pictures are from an outdoor display that was near the souk. Then there are various pictures of stores in the souk selling things, old pillars dating back to Roman times and before, various gateways, doors, churches, restaurants and alleyways. There’s one picture of hajj decorations for sale. A beautiful tradition they have is of decorating the home of a person who has returned back from Hajj. So you’ll see all these beautiful little banners saying ‘hajj mabrur’ and little kabas and the house will be lit up with lights. From far away like on the mountain looking down you see all these homes lit up of people who have come back from Hajj. It’s like they brought the noor with them subhanAllah.

There’s a picture of Abu Darda (ra)’s grave that’s in the souk. And the pictures of a big building with domes is actually an old caravanserai (traveller’s inn) within the souk. Isn’t that little door so cute! They were having some kind of French art display there at the time too.

Link to the pictures of Damascus the Old City

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