Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|history of dimashq (for jannah)|
|11/13/01 at 14:29:13|
Its Arabic name is Dimashq or al-Sham. It is watered by the Barada River, to which the city largely owes its existence. Damascus is surrounded by a large and verdant irrigated area, the Ghuta, which produces a great variety of fruits, grains, and vegetables and is especially famous for apricots and their blossoms. The Barada seems present everywhere in Damascus, with its many subdivisions both irrigating the Ghuta and furnishing water for baths, mosques, drinking fountains, and homes in the city.
The city is divided into various quarters, including the peasant, the Christian, the Kurdish, the European and upper-class sections, and the bazaar area. The population is Arab and predominantly Muslim, but there is a sizable minority of Christian Arabs, mostly of Eastern rites. Most of the Jews formerly living in the city emigrated to Israel after 1948. Kurds, Algerians, Persians, Afghans, and Turkomans give the city a cosmopolitan character.
Places of Interest: Damascus everywhere shows the traces of past building, with its mosques, madrasas (medieval schools for Muslim learning), baths, fountains, monumental gates, and fortifications. Some of the most important sites are the Umayyad (or Great) Mosque, the fourth holiest mosque in Islam, which was constructed in 705 on top of earlier Christian and pagan edifices; the citadel, originally Roman, but mostly dating from the 13th century; the tombs of Saladin and of Ibn al-Arabi, the famous mystic; and the takiya (monastery) built by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century. The last, with its prayer chamber flanked by delicate Ottoman minarets and fronted by a reflecting pool edged with a promenade and the monks' chambers, each with its separate cupola, is remarkable for the way it imposes the cool and the serene on an arid and harsh landscape.
There is an important and attractive modern museum containing striking reconstructions of the ancient synagogue of Dura-Europos and of a desert pleasure dome of an Umayyad prince. In the Christian quarter there are various semi-legendary sites associated with the conversion of St. Paul. The “street called Straight” (Acts 9:11) is one of the main thoroughfares in the bazaar. The city's educational institutions include the Arab Academy, the University of Damascus, and numerous primary and secondary schools. There are in all some 250 mosques. The city's glorious past, and its role as a rendezvous for the pilgrims to Mecca, have invested Damascus with a holy aura.
History: Damascus is of very ancient origin and proclaims itself the oldest city in the world. It first comes into full light as the capital of an Aramaean kingdom that fell before the Assyrians in 732 B.C. It was not especially important under the Seleucids, but after it was captured by the Romans in 64 B.C., it flourished. Damascus was Christianized early. It retained a considerable degree of importance under the Byzantines but passed from Christian rule to the invading Muslim Arabs, who captured the city in 636 following a brilliant military campaign. The shift in the center of Muslim power from Arabia to Syria a few decades later brought Damascus to the apogee of its glory.
Muawiya, who was the founder of the brilliant Umayyad dynasty (661–750), took Damascus for his capital, and as such it soon became the capital of the whole Muslim world, ruling a territory that stretched for a brief moment from the Pyrenees to India.
It was reduced to a provincial or minor dynastic capital after 750 but rose again to importance as a center for opposing the Crusades. Thereafter, despite Mongol invasions, Damascus remained the chief city of Syria. It was occupied by the Ottomans from 1516 until its liberation by Anglo-Arab forces in 1918. For a brief time in 1920, it was the capital of an independent Syrian kingdom, but the kingdom was crushed by France.
Damascus remained the Syrian capital under French mandate. It was a major center of the Arab nationalist movement in the following decades and became the capital of the Syrian Arab Republic after final independence was achieved in 1946. Population: 3,000,000 (1996 est.).
Education: Most people in Syria are highly educated. Usually education in Syria is higher than in USA. All students have to finish calculus and general education in High School.
Health: We usually live a long life, so population growth rate is high (4%). Syria (espesially Damascus) has one of the highest population growth rate in the world. About 46% of the people are below 15 year. And about 60% of the people are below 20.
Civilization: The Phoenician Arabs invented many useful inventions which we still use many of them like glass, Money, and the most important invention is the Alphabet which most of the alphabets in the present have been derived from the Phoenician alphabet.
The Arab Muslims also invented many sciences like: mathematics, astronomy, chemistry (alchemy), medicine, physics, lecture, art, etc. They invented sociology, algebra, logarithms, Arabic numbers, and the most important invention in mathematics was "zero."
Food: Wow, a lot of variety. A typical Syrian meal includes: rice or bread, meat, vegetables, fat, beans, sweet and fruit (almost everything). Syrian food is considered (in addition to the Lebanese) the best among Arabic food.
Houses: Ancient houses consist of a big yard surfaced with marble and mosaic surrounded with fruit trees. In the middle of the yard there is a pond and a fountain. The water that comes out of this fountain is very pure and cold because the water comes directly for a river named "Barada." At one side of the yard, there is a special room which is opened to the yard. This room has a spectacular view at the marbled yard and the fountain, but is used by the family and their relatives. However, the guests have their own room called "The Hall" which has its own pond and fountain. The other rooms, which surround the big yard, have a very high ceiling full of ornamentation and arabesque.
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