Damascus - Rich In History.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Flag of Syria  ,
Sunday, November 16, 2008

Damascus is a busy hectic city steeped in history, both Biblical and Islamic. Today we set off with a group of two New Zealanders and two from the UK to do a guided tour of Damascus (this guide was the chap who originally met us at the airport). First stop the Damascus museum, where we saw items from some of the sites we had visited. (Wish we could view things insitu instead of museums!). Then it was off to the souks for a smell of spices.

Next we visited the Umayyad Mosque which required the females in our group to don very unbecoming outfits from "the special clothes room". Hoods had to kept on the hair at all times but no restrictions on the men? The Mosque is built on the site of the original temple of the God Jupiter. The Christians then used the site to build a huge Byzantine Cathedral. In 705AD it became a Mosque under Islamic rule but many of the original parts are still of the Church. The actual head of John the Baptist is still in the mosque!

An interesting museum of Islamic daily life followed then a beautiful lunch of Arabic food, before we strolled down Straight Street which is mentioned in the bible and has been always in use since. Paul lost his sight on the way to Damascus and sought out a man called Ananias in Straight Street to heal him as instructed to do by God. Ananias later became a saint and his house was turned into a Christian church, which we visited. Lastly we went to the site where Paul was let down over the city walls in a basket to escape the Romans, who had discovered that Paul had "changed sides". A Christian church was also on this site.

Back near our hotel we had our shoes cleaned by one of the many Iraqi refugees and grabbed some fruit for our evening meal and got ourselves organized to leave Syria. It is with reluctance, as it is a beautiful country with lovely friendly people and very little hassle.  

Footnote: The Ancient City Of Damascus is UNESCO World Heritage listed.
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