On the Road to Damascus

A long time ago, before all the trouble in Syria started, we did a road trip to Damascus from Lebanon. Nowadays that is not possible as the borders are closed due to conflicts in Syria. I do hope that all the problems are resolved soon. It is a beautiful country with a lot of great sites to visit.

On the way there I kept thinking of the story of Saint Paul. Famously converted on the road to Damascus, he travelled tens of thousands of miles around the Mediterranean spreading the word of Jesus and it was Paul who came up with the doctrine that would turn Christianity from a small sect of Judaism into a worldwide faith that was open to all.

Umayyad Mosque

Having survived thousands of years of successive civilizations from the Egyptians, Greco-Romans, Muslims, Crusaders, Mongols, Ottomans and French to the modern Arab era, Damascus is one of the most resilient and historic cities on Earth. Its ruins lay up to 8 feet deep under its surface and the Old City is home to Roman era ramparts, gates, the Umayyad Mosque and legendary churches including the Chapel of St. Paul. Bab Sharqi and the Souk Medhat Pasha lay on a street dating to biblical times.

To visit the Mosque women are asked to cover up; you can go to a special room and borrow a cape to put on.

Beirut and Syria16

My beautiful friend Clare wearing her cape.

Everywhere you turn in Damascus, especially around the souk, you can find opportunities to take great pictures.

Around the souk you can find the most amazing souvenirs, and artcraft for very good prices – you have to haggle to get the best price.

I’m not sure how tourism is getting on in Damascus at the moment . I know there is lots of trouble in Syria, and tourism has probably declined.

 

After a lot of walking and exploring the City, we stopped for a well deserved cup of tea.

Damascus3

I had a nice time in Damascus, and I hope things improve there soon.

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