Damascus is the capital of Syria. The old city of Damascus, enclosed by the city walls, lies on the south bank of the river Barada which is almost dry (3 cm (1 in) left). To the south-east, north and north-east it is surrounded by suburban areas whose history stretches back to the Middle Ages. Damascus has a wealth of historical sites dating back to many different periods of the city’s history.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Syria is between March to May (Spring) and September to November (Autumn). This is an ideal time to visit Syria owing to pleasant weather.
Top Places to Visit in Damascus
1. Damascus National Museum
The Damascus National Museum moved to this location in 1936 during the French mandate, after having been hosted in the Great Madrasa Al-Adliya. The museum, which boasts the original gateway of an ancient Umayyad palace as its façade, contains some of the world’s most important artifacts.
2. Umayyad Mosque
The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus located in the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. The site is attested for as a place of worship since the Iron Age.The mosque occupies a huge quadrangle 515 by 330 feet (157 by 100 m) and contains a large open courtyard surrounded by an arcade of arches supported by slender columns. The liwan, or hall of worship, running the length of the south side of the mosque, is divided into three long aisles by rows of columns and arches. The walls of the mosque were once covered with more than an acre of mosaics depicting a fanciful landscape thought to be the Quranic paradise, but only fragments survive. The mosque was destroyed by Timur in 1401, rebuilt by the Arabs, and damaged by fire in 1893. Although it could not be restored to its original splendour, the mosque is still an impressive architectural monument.
3. Tekkiye Suleimanieh
The Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent commissioned this 16th century building complex. Tekkiye Suleimanieh used to serve as a school, mosque and a kitchen to distribute food to the pilgrims heading from Anatolia to Mecca. The building complex was designed by the famous Ottoman architect Sinan, and was built on the site where the palace of the Mamluk Sultan Baibars used to stand before being destroyed by Timurlenk. Today, Tekkiye Suleimanieh is host to the war museum as well as to a handicraft bazaar (market).