Ancient City of Damascus
Religion, politics, trade.
Location and siteBetween the Anti-Lebanon mountain range and the Syrian desert, Damascus was established in the oasis Ghouta on a fork of the terrestrial Silk Road. Venetians and Genevans went there to meet the caravans.
A fortified enclosure with gates surrounds the old city of Damascus, which has maintained its Islamic character since the Omayyad period, and conserved, in its plan, traces of Roman and Byzantine elements (such as the streets which were oriented according to the four cardinal points).
Covered markets, caravan enclosures, palaces, minarets and cupolas testify to the Islamic origins of Damascus. Among its numerous monuments, the Great Mosque, which tells the story of the different stages in the city's history, has always been foremost on the list for pilgrims; it is also one of the most sacred places in Islam. Its architectural plan influenced the design of other mosques in Syria (notably those in Aleppo and Hama), Turkey (Diyar Bakir), Spain (Córdoba) and elsewhere.
The Great Mosque of Damascus is a unique and essential monument. (I) Its architecture had an important influence. (II) The ensemble of buildings of the Omayyad period constitutes an exceptional testimony to the golden era of Damascus. (III) Its religious monuments illustrate the exemplary nature of Damascus as a Muslim city. (IV) It is associated with the development of the Christian and Muslim religions. Finally, it played an important role in the conflicts between these two groups during the time of the Crusades. (VI)
- In the middle of the 11th century B.C., a Semitic community lived in Damascus.
- In the 10th century B.C., Damascus was the capital of an Armenian kingdom; its Haddad Temple was very famous.
- After a series of invasions (by Babylonians, Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, and Persians), Damascus was conquered by Alexander The Great. Under the Seleucids, the city was supplanted by the new capital, Antioche.
- Conquered by the Romans in 64 B.C., the Hellenistic city of Damascus became part of the Roman Province of Syria and began to enjoy prosperity; a temple dedicated to Jupiter was erected on the site of the Haddad Temple.
- After the defeat of the Byzantine forces in 636 A.D., Damascus, whose history was linked to that of the West for over ten centuries, was conquered by the Muslims.
- Under the Omayyads Dynasty (650-750), however, Damascus enjoyed a golden era; it was capital of an empire which extended from North Africa to China. The Great Mosque was erected on the site of the Roman temple between 705 and 715.
- After founding the Ayubites Dynasty, Saladin gathered his troops in Damascus before taking over Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187. Once again, Damascus shone as the capital of a great kingdom.
- In 1516, Damascus and Syria were invaded by the Ottomans.
|Dr. Beshr Al-Sabban|
Mayor and President of Damascus Municipal Council
|City of Damascus|
Youssef Al Azmeh Square City Hall
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
|M. Samir Al Abdeh|
Acting Governor and Vice-President of the Municipal Council of the City of Damascus
|Government of Damascus|
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic