Damascus Cont'd and Bosra

Trip Start Oct 20, 2008
Trip End Jan 31, 2009

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Flag of Syria  ,
Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Took the 8am bus to Bosra. al-Wasim charges 105 pounds for the trip. The bus was new and the staff helpful. It's funny how most of the new buses here are Temsa (a Turkish company) buses. It took 2 hours to get to Bosra, which is an ancient Roman city of basalt. The basalt black makes you feel as if the town has been burnt down, but of course that is not the case. The highlight is the pseudo-Citadel that has been built by the Mamluks in the 11th Century. The surprise comes when you arrive at the center of the Citadel, where there is a gigantic amphitheater (capacity of 10,000 people). The walls around the amphitheater have preserved it remarkably.

Bosra has a very interesting mosque. It is a basalt Roman church that has been converted to a mosque. The mosque is still active.  There were numerous corinthian columns inside and a metal ceiling had been used to cover the courtyard in the center.

The German Doctor: 30; graduated from Humbolt University as a psychiatrist; currently, he works in Zurich; took a 2-week break from work and decided to visit his German friend in Syria; after Bosra, we sat at a cafe in Damascus and talked extensively about politics and economics.

I expected Bosra to be similar to Harran in Urfa. However, the town was significantly bigger and more developed.. Yes, there are quite primitive houses scattered inside the site, but there are also quite modern ones right outside.

The National Museum in Damascus was a major disappointment. The organization was terrible; labels in English nearly didn't exist, and the staff was unhelpful.

After the Museum, my German friend and I had some food and coffee at Cafe Luna, close to the museum. This cafe was in the most luxurious part of Damascus, comparable to Etiler in Istanbul. As a result, we got ripped off (400 pound each), despite the poor food quality.

We parted ways after coffee. All of a sudden, it started to pour. I thought we were right next to the dessert!
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