The ancient city of Damascus, the Syrian capital, is one of the most intriguing cities of the Middle East, but also one of the most troublesome to visit.
The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.
- Full name of site: Ancient City of Damascus
- Country: Syrian Arab Republic
- Date of Inscription: 1979
- Category: Cultural site
UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 20:
“Founded in the 3rd millennium B.C., Damascus is one of the oldest cities in the Middle East. In the Middle Ages, it was the centre of a flourishing craft industry, specializing in swords and lace. The city has some 125 monuments from different periods of its history one of the most spectacular is the 8th-century Great Mosque of the Umayyads, built on the site of an Assyrian sanctuary.”
From my blog describing my visit to Syria in 1986 I wrote this about the ancient city of Damascus (excerpt):
“Damascus boasts of being the world’s longest inhabited city. The bazaar, or souq, was excellent: Large and exciting.
The Omayyad Mosque is magnificent. It has three minarets of which one is called the Jesus-minaret because Jesus is expected to come here on doomsday. There is also a grave or sarcophagus belonging to John the Baptist. But Damascus is not the only town claiming possession of his grave.”