As one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Syria's capital brims with history and culture. Visitors usually gravitate towards Umayyad Mosque, the Roman walls and gates, as well as the city's biblical sites and bustling markets.
The capital's historical sites date back to many different periods, with mosques, churches, the old city walls and ancient souks (covered markets) testifying to the occupation of Greeks and Romans, Persians, Christians, and the Islamic Umayyad Empire.
Damascus was the capital of the Aramean Kingdom in the 11th century BC. It was also where the apostle Paul converted to Christianity and started the early church. However, the city's most glorious days were as the capital of the Umayyad Empire. The Umayyad Mosque, or Grand Mosque of Damascus, is one of the biggest in the world. Sadly, the Syrian Civil War has left the holy site in ruins, though it is still remarkable.
Souks are a significant part of the Damascus experience. Travellers usually join locals in haggling over inlaid mosaic boxes, chessboards, jewellery and hookah (hubble-bubble) pipes.
With the city reopening to tourism, travellers can once again visit this alluring, historically significant destination.