Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Damascus, Syria - Day 2

After a sound night's sleep in our luxe hotel, we awoke excited to further explore Damascus. Our plan for the day was to visit the Umayyad Mosque, and Souq al-Hamidiyya.

The Umayyad Mosque is an important Islamic landmark, and is magnificent. To enter, all uncovered women, and men wearing shorts are required to don cloaked garments in the appropriately named "Putting on Special Clothes Room".

Putting on Special Clothes Room Sign

Once inside, it's difficult to not be impressed by the grandeur of the mosque.

Umayyad Mosque Courtyard

Umayyad Mosque

Umayyad Mosque Prayyer Hall

Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of visiting the Umayyad Mosque was seeing the many families relaxing in the courtyard, visiting with each other, picnicking, and enjoying the beauty of the mosque.


After exploring the Umayyad Mosque, and having some spectacular chicken shawarma for lunch, we then visited Souq al-Hamidiyya, a fairly large Middle Eastern bazaar, to take in all of its wonderful shops.

Souq al-Hamidiyya

Souqs are generally organized such that each store only sells one type of item: only shoes, only denim jeans, only women's lingerie, etc. And typically, stores selling a particular type of good are all right next to each other, so if you need a new water pipe, some spices, or even some tape, it's relatively easy to do price comparisons.

Hubbly Bubbly Shop

Spice Seller

Tape Store

As the sun was beginning to set, we decided to attempt to tour Damascus' Citadel, even though it was rumored to be closed for renovations.


We managed to sweet talk one of the engineers into giving us a tour of their improvements, and I was glad to have done so once we reached the top of the citadel's immense stone walls. The views of Damascus were spectacular.

Umayyad Mosque through Arrowslit

While walking back from the citadel, these three guys let me join their football (soccer) game.


The boy in the sweater wasn't particularly fond of passing.

Next up: traversing the length of Syria by bus.

1 comment:

Ben said...

These photos look great.