It is claimed that Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, with traces going back as far as around 7,000 years ago. As such, it has seen much of the world history of the past millennia, it has seen Persians, the Greeks and Alexander the Great, Romans, Muslims, Mongols, Ottomans, Mamluks and the French. Often, new houses were constructed on top of older ones, and the old town actually consists of layers of "versions" of Damasus which can be seen in various parts of the town.
As soon as you dive into the old town from any of the entrances from the modern city, you dive into a maze of alleys, a labyrinth of small streets with arches, with shops, with mosques and churches, with arches and remnants of the old defensive wall, with restaurants hidden behind small doors. From every corner, the age of the houses dawns on you. It is actually quite easy to imagine that life might not even have been very different here many centuries ago.
Sometimes alleys are so tight that you can just walk inside without touching the walls. Some alleys are covered by vines, giving them a distinctly village-like appearance. Despite all the winding little streets, the many sidestreets and small squares, it is somehow impossible to get lost here - sooner or later you find yourself near one of the landmarks. Stepping back into modern-day Damascus with its traffic is like stepping forward into history.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Damascus' old city (Syria). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Damascus' old city. Read more about this site.