A Travellerspoint blog

2011 - Oasis Overland (Part 9 - Damascus, Syria)

A tour of the capital of one of the "Axis of Evil" states.

sunny
View 2011 tiki tour on nzhamsta's travel map.

Friday 25 March - Having said that, whilst half of the group were on a long day trip to Lebanon, the remainder of us were not allowed to go into Damascus centre due the demonstrations they were holding. Thus we hung around the camp site and local area. We found all sorts of shops with great people in them. One cake and pastry shop owner refused point blank to accept any money for some sweets and chocolate eclairs we bought from him. We offered several times but he would not take any cash.

large_DSC09670.jpg
Fanny.

Saturday 26 March - Into Damascus to visit the Umayyad Mosque. This is one of the holiest places in Islam. It contains the body of Saladin (1138-1193), one of the greatest heroes in Kurdish, Arab and Moslem history. The place is huge and very popular with locals and tourists, both western and Arabian and Iranian. However it is possible to find a quiet corner and just observe the people wandering past, praying, posing for photos against some of the magnificent mosaic work, practising their English on tourists (a father and his two daughters did exactly that to me) and generally taking it all in.

large_DSC09674.jpg
Jordan and Erin modelling the required clothing.

large_DSC09677.jpg
The tomb of Saladin.

large_DSC09679.jpg
Umayyad mosque.

large_DSC09681.jpg
Umayyad Mosque.

large_DSC09682.jpg
The main courtyard of the Umayyad mosque.

large_DSC09683.jpg
Ablutions fountain in the mosque's main courtyard.

large_DSC09684.jpg
More artistic details.

large_DSC09686.jpg
An arty black and white picture of the mosque's courtyard.

large_DSC09692.jpg
Details of the decoration in the mosque.

large_DSC09694.jpg
The main prayer hall.

large_DSC09703.jpg
Pilgrims and tourists at Umayyad Mosque.

From there we wandered around the vast Souq al-Bzouriyya, including Straight Street. You could spend days getting lost in the rabbit warren of streets, lanes and shops, selling everything from spices to tea and coffee to blankets to clothes and everything in between.

large_DSC09707.jpg
An old bit of town.

large_DSC09714.jpg
Damascus citadel.

large_DSC09716.jpg
The statue of Saladin outside Damascus' citadel.

I was on dinner duty again and our group managed to produce a very good meal from the vegetables and tins of stuff we bought from the local markets up the road. The people here are some of the friendliest we met on our trip and are extremely happy to see tourists in their country.
.

Posted by nzhamsta 14:00 Archived in Syria

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint