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Dimaschq  /دمشق / Dimašq
Damascus (Syria)
Red pog.svg
Coordinates 33 ° 30 '35 "  N , 36 ° 18' 33"  E Coordinates: 33 ° 30 '35 "  N , 36 ° 18' 33"  E
coat of arms
coat of arms
Basic data
Country Syria


height 690 m
surface 77 km²
Metropolitan area 105 km²
Residents 1,834,741 (2010)
Metropolitan area 2,831,738 (2010)
density 23,827.8  Ew. / km²
Metropolitan area 26,968.9  Ew. / km²
Website www.damascus.gov.sy ( Arabic )
governor Adel al-Olabi
Political party Baath

Damascus [ daˈmaskʊs ] ( Arabic دمشق Dimaschq , DMG Dimašq ), ( Turkish / Ottoman Şam , also Dimaşk) is the capital of Syria and the governorate of Rif Dimaschq ( area around Damascus ). The city officially has 1,834,741 inhabitants,officially 2,831,738 people livein the agglomeration (as of January 1, 2010). Unofficial estimates often assume a significantly higher population. The capital forms an independent government. It is ruled by a governor appointed by the interior minister.

Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and a cultural and religious center of the Orient . In Syria itself, Damascus is commonالشام / called aš-Šām ; in the rest of the Arab world, this name is often used for the country Syria. Historically, it stands for the entire Levant . Damascus has also been affected by the civil war that has raged in Syria since 2011 . The information in the article essentially relates to the time before the outbreak of war.


Geographical location

Damascus is 15 kilometers east of the Syrian- Lebanon border . To the southwest of Damascus, 45 kilometers away, lie the Syrian Golan Heights, which Israel has occupied since the Six Day War of 1967 . The border with Jordan is 100 kilometers south of Damascus.

At the foot of Mount Qasyun at an altitude of 690 meters, Damascus extends in the Barada Valley . The oasis of Ghouta , which has always been the city's lifeline, is irrigated by the drainless Barada , which rises in the western mountains of Anti-Lebanon and flows all year round. East of Damascus, the Syrian Desert extends south to the Arabian Peninsula .

City structure

Damascus municipalities

The capital is divided into the old town , the newer districts and the suburbs Midan in the southwest, Sarouja in the north and Imara in the northwest. The old town in the center of Damascus is characterized by narrow streets, covered markets and traditional houses. The al-Merjeh area, with its modern high-rise buildings, is the administrative and economic center of the city.

The districts north of the old town on the slopes of the Kasioun (Qāsiyūn) have been inhabited by Kurds since before the state was founded. By contrast, many Palestinian refugees have been living in Yarmuk , located in the south, since 1955 .

In the second half of the 20th century, the city expanded mainly in the western district of Mezze, along the Barada Depression in Dumar in the northwest and on the slopes of the mountains near Berze in the northeast. Numerous informal settlements , often without official approval, have been built in the last few decades, especially on the southern outskirts . Many internally displaced people live there who moved to Damascus because of the poor living conditions in the countryside.


Damascus is located in the subtropical climatic zone . The annual average temperature is 16.7 ° C. Since it is located to the east and thus in the rain shadow of Anti-Lebanon, only 194 millimeters of precipitation fall in the catchment area of ​​the Syrian capital per year.

The warmest months are June to August with an average of 24.6 to 26.6 ° C, the coldest months December to February with an average of 6.2 to 7.9 ° C. Most of the precipitation falls from October to April with an average of 12 to 46 millimeters, the lowest from May to September with an average of 0 to 5 millimeters.

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: wetterkontor.de
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Damascus
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 12.4 15.1 19.1 24.2 29.6 33.9 35.8 35.6 32.6 27.7 20.3 14.1 O 25.1
Min. Temperature (° C) 0.5 1.6 3.8 7.4 10.5 14.3 16.5 16.0 12.6 8.3 3.8 1.5 O 8.1
Precipitation ( mm ) 56 36 26th 16 7th 0 0 0 0 8th 28 47 Σ 224
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 5.3 6.5 7.3 8.3 10.4 11.9 11.8 11.4 10.2 8.6 6.9 5.3 O 8.7
Rainy days ( d ) 7th 4th 4th 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 5 Σ 28
Humidity ( % ) 76 68 59 53 47 42 46 50 51 50 61 74 O 56.4
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: wetterkontor.de



As a large oasis in a landscape with little rain, the Damascus area was an attractive settlement area from an early age. In Tell Ramad , a suburb of today's Damascus, traces of a Stone Age settlement from the pre-ceramic Neolithic B were found , in Tell eṣ-Ṣaliḥiyeh and in Deir Khabiye two settlement mounds from the Bronze Age .

Egyptian rule

After the Egyptians conquered today's Syria, Damascus was first established as a city-state under the Pharaohs Thutmose III. and Amenhotep III. Mentioned as Tamasqu (tmsq, see Egyptian hieroglyphs ). It was from Thutmose III. taken. At the time of Akhenaten it was mentioned with its prince Namiawaza in two Amarna letters (139, 63; 142, 21). Damascus remained until the end of the 2nd millennium BC. In Egyptian hands and center of the province of Ube .

The Kingdom of Aram Damascus

The Aramaic territorial state of Aram-Damascus probably originated in the 13th century BC. When the Egyptians had finally lost control of Canaan and Syria.

Biblical tradition

Damascus is in the Bible for the first time in Genesis 1 ( Gen 14.15  EU mentioned). The city is said to have been annexed to his empire under King David (2 Samuel 8: 8). Reson , a refugee from the Aramaic kingdom of Hadadeser of Zoba ( 1 Kings 11, 23) near Hama , shook off the supremacy of Solomon and founded a new dynasty (1 Kings 11, 23). Reson remained an enemy of the kingdom of Israel "as long as Solomon lived" (1 Kings 11:25). King Ben-Hadad II of Damascus was defeated by Israel under Ahab . Hasa'el and his son Ben-Hadad III. won numerous victories over Israel (cf. 2 Kings, 13 on a crushing victory over Jehoahaz ), but had to give in more and more to the Assyrian pressure. Damascus even came back under Israelite domination for a time. Jeroboam II , king of Israel, took Hama and Damascus (2 Kings 14:28); but this success did not last long.

King Rezin allied himself with King Pekach of Israel. They besieged Jerusalem , which was under the rule of Ahaz (2 Kings 16), together but unsuccessfully. Rezin was able to take Eilat and settled Edomites there. Thereupon Ahaz of Judah sent a cry for help to Tiglath-pileser III. of Assyria , which he accompanied with abundant treasures (2 Kings 16: 8). It hardly needed this request to persuade the Assyrians to eliminate the last independent Aramaic empire that blocked the way to the south.

The following is a compilation of the most relevant mentions of Damascus in the Tanakh, sorted by biblical passages:

  • Abraham chases his enemies at the liberation of Lot north of Damascus (Gen 14:15)
  • Abraham's servant Eliezer comes from Damascus (Gen 15.2)
  • David defeated u. a. the Arameans from Damascus, appoints his governors there and demands tribute (2Sam 8,5-6; 1Chr 18,5-6)
  • Opponents of Solomon gather in Damascus (1 Kings 11:24)
  • King Asa of Judah allies himself a. with the king of Aram from Damascus (1 Kings 15:18; 2 Chr 16: 2)
  • Elijah is to anoint Hazael king over Aram (1 Kings 19:15)
  • Ahab's covenant with Ben-Hadad implies a. a road construction permit in Damascus (1 Kings 20:34)
  • Elisha comes to Damascus and is asked with gifts to heal the sick Ben-Hadad (2 Kings 8: 7, 9)
  • Jeroboam II conquered by Israel a. a. Damascus, which belonged to Judah (2 Kings 14:28)
  • Ahaz successfully asks Assur for help with gifts. a. against Damascus (2 Kings 16: 7-9)
  • Ahaz marches against Assyria in Damascus and has an image made of the altar there (2 Kings 16: 10-12)
  • An Aramean army defeats Joasch and sends the booty to Damascus (2Chr 24:23)
  • Ahaz of Judah is defeated by King Arams, which leads to deportation to Damascus (2Chr 28,5); there he sacrifices to the gods of Damascus in the hope that they will help him (2Chr 28:23)
  • Damascus is also mentioned in prophetic literature, especially in Jes, Jer, Ez, Am, Sach.

Historical sources

Victory stele from Tel Dan (around 842 BC), probably erected by Hasa'el

Ben-Hadad II fought in 853 BC In an alliance of twelve countries together with Ahab and Irhuleni of Hama in the battle of Karkara on the Orontes against the Assyrians under Salmānu-ašarēd III. , however, could not achieve a lasting victory. Ben-Hadad II died between 844 and 840 BC. BC, and Hasa'el succeeded him as the new founder of the dynasty.

The alliance with Hamath was broken as early as 845 BC. Four years later the gardens of the Damascus oasis were devastated in another Assyrian attack. Shalmaneser III. undertook in the years 849–838 BC Further campaigns against Aram, but without lasting success. 733 BC Was Damascus by Tiglath-Pileser III. captured, Rezin killed, the population deported to Kir and the empire divided into three Assyrian provinces (Damascus, Karnini ( Karnajim ) and Haurini ). Damascus recovered relatively quickly from the destruction by the Assyrians, mainly thanks to its importance as a stopover for trade from the Phoenician coastal cities of the Levant to the cities of Mesopotamia and from Arabia to Asia Minor .


Greek Catholic Church of St. Paul

After it briefly belonged to the New Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC), Damascus fell to the Achaemenid Persian Empire . Strabo (16,2,20) describes it as its most important and most brilliant city. Parmenion , a general of Alexander the Great , conquered Damascus in 332 BC. BC and captured the state treasure of Darius . Damascus was incorporated into the Alexander Empire and thereby became a Macedonian colony; a Greek settlement arose in the north and east of the Aramaic city.

Under the rule of the Seleucids , Damascus was expanded and fortified and 111 BC. By Antiochus IX. elevated to the capital of Phenicia and Koilesyria . 85 BC The Nabataeans succeeded under King Aretas III. the conquest of Damascus. They could be up to 66 BC. When all of Syria was conquered under Pompey and incorporated into the Roman Empire . Damascus probably joined the Decapolis in the following period .

From Marcus Antonius Koilesyria and with it Damascus 38 BC. Chr. (Together with other parts of the empire) given to Cleopatra VII of Egypt.

The once expelled Nabataeans succeeded in re-conquering the city in 37 AD. With the tolerance of the Romans, they could last until 54. Then the Romans ruled again. The city gained in importance after Nabataea became a Roman province under Trajan in AD 106 and the Romans built a road from Damascus via Bosra to the Red Sea . Damascus briefly became a bishopric, but it had to give it to Emesa in the 3rd century . Emperor Theodosius I founded a basilica in Damascus in the 4th century over the presumed relics of John the Baptist .

middle Ages

In 635 Damascus was conquered by the Arabs after showing little resistance to Islamic expansion . The city's surrender treaty was to have a model character. The Christian population had to pay poll tax ( jizya ), but otherwise remained largely undisturbed. Under Caliph Muʿāwiya I , Damascus became the capital of the Umayyad Empire in 661 . Caliph al-Walid I was 705 at the site of John's Basilica, the Umayyad Mosque was the first monumental mosque of Islam build. Inside the building is the shrine of John the Baptist.

After the end of the Umayyad dynasty in 750, the victorious Abbasids moved the seat of the caliphate to the newly founded Baghdad , probably also to emphasize the break with the Umayyads. Damascus was thus only a provincial capital, its importance dwindled significantly over the years. Nevertheless, it remained fought over among the changing Islamic dynasties (878 Tulunids , 945 Ichschidids , 970-1076 Fatimids ). Throughout the Middle Ages, Damascus was always closely linked to Egypt.

In 1104 Damascus became the seat of the Seljuk Burid dynasty. The six-day siege of Damascus by crusaders during the Second Crusade in July 1148 was unsuccessful. In 1154 the city of Nur ad-Din surrendered, making Damascus the new capital of his empire. Under Nur ad-Din and Saladin , the city regained importance, especially in the fight against the crusader states . The population grew and the city expanded beyond the old city walls. Under the two rulers and Saladin's descendants, the Ayyubids , numerous buildings were built that still shape the cityscape today.

The Mamluks , who had ruled Damascus from Egypt since 1250, were able to hold the city against the Mongols in 1260. In 1401 Damascus was sacked by Timur Lenk and tens of thousands of residents were killed.

Modern times

Damascus, woodcut from 1497
Damascus, representation from 1588
View of Damascus, 1677

After the collapse of Mameluke rule, Syria fell to the Ottomans in 1516 . As a starting point for the annual pilgrimages to Mecca , Damascus was also economically favored and expanded by the new rulers.

Under Muhammad Ali Pasha , the Egyptians succeeded in conquering Syria and Cilicia in 1831 . A phase of intensive reforms followed: the administration was centralized, the economy promoted, new schools founded, etc. However, after an intervention by European powers in 1840, the Egyptians were forced to return Syria to the Ottomans.

In the Ottoman Empire , intensive reform activities ( Tanzimat ) began in 1839 , which also had an impact on Syria.

In 1840 the Damascus affair occurred , which played an important role in the development of Zionism .

In 1860 there was a massacre of the city's Christians , although it is still unclear who caused the tumult. The Ottoman rulers did not intervene and even disarmed the Christians. On July 9th and 10th, 1860, mobs and soldiers entered the Christian quarter and violated the residents there. More than 3000 people are said to have fallen victim to the bloodbath. The Arab freedom fighter Abd el-Kader took the persecuted under protection, for which Napoleon III. the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor was awarded.

Damascus developed into a center of the East Arab national movement towards the end of the 19th century. With the defeat of the Ottomans in World War I , their rule over Syria ended. On September 30, 1918, Arab- British troops marched into Damascus.

Faisal I declared himself King of Syria in March 1920, but was driven out by the French a little later . At the Sanremo Conference (1920), Syria and Lebanon were placed under a French mandate by the League of Nations , with Damascus as their capital. In 1925 and 1926, this Damascus state was the center of anti-French unrest in Syria , which was suppressed by military force.

British and French troops liberated Damascus from the rule of the Vichy regime in 1941 . In 1946 the last Allied troops left Damascus. In the same year it became the capital of the independent state of Syria. In the course of the Middle East conflict , there was a religiously motivated attack on the Menarscha synagogue in 1949 .

The old city of Damascus, one in 1979 for World Heritage within the meaning of UNESCO . As a result of the massive population growth of the last few decades, the increase in individual traffic and the associated tendency towards sluming the old center, which is essentially only accessible on foot, there is a risk of being classified on the Red List of endangered cultural assets.

In 2000 the Damascus Spring began from here , when the call for democratic reforms was loud and which quickly spread to other major cities. In 2011, a revolt also led to popular protests in Damascus; from July 2012, there were also violent clashes between the army and armed insurgents, which developed into the civil war in Syria , which continues to this day. In Damascus there is a different militia in almost every district .

While Damascus was largely spared the civil war that had been going on since 2011, a fire broke out on April 23, 2016 in a shop in the Asruniyeh market, which is adjacent to Suq al-Hamidiya . Dozens of other shops in the old town were destroyed.

Population development

Due to the high birth rate and the strong rural exodus, the population of Damascus grew very rapidly, especially in the second half of the 20th century. In 1943 only 286,000 people lived in the city, by 1960 there were already half a million. By 1980 this number had doubled. In 2010 the city had 1.8 million inhabitants. 2.8 million people live in the agglomeration (as of January 1, 2010).

The majority of the population in Damascus are the Arabs , the second largest ethnic group are the Kurds , with 300,000 inhabitants. More recent estimates assume a larger population of the Kurds, as many refugees come from Turkey and Iraq , but are not Syrian citizens. They settled in the capital because they could hope for work there. The majority of the Kurds live in the districts of Sallahiya and Harat Al-Akrad (the Kurdish quarter). Other ethnic minorities include Armenians who still Aramaic -speaking Arameans (including Assyrians and Chaldean Christians called), Greeks and Turks ( Turkomans ). Numerous Palestinian and Aramaic refugees from Iraq as well as guest workers from neighboring Arab countries also live in Damascus.

The population figures in the following overview refer to the actual city without the suburban belt.

Population development 1900–2006
The telegraph monument from the Ottoman era
Historic Buildings
        year         Residents
1900 140,500
1921 169,400
1935 193,900
1943 286,300
1959 475,400
1960 530,000
1964 563,000
        year         Residents
1966 789.800
1970 836,668
1981 1,112,214
1994 1,394,322
1998 1,431,821
2003 1,553,201
2010 1,834,741


City government

Damascus forms its own governorate and is the capital of the governorate of Rif Dimaschq ( area around Damascus ). At the head of the governorate is the governor personally appointed by the president of the country. He has the rank of minister and is formally the representative of the Syrian government in the governorate.

Politics at the communal and local level in Damascus is essentially carried out by the People's Council, with numerous options for intervention and decision-making. It is the most important administrative body for planning, coordinating and implementing central government policies at the local level.

Town twinning

Damascus has partnerships with the following cities:

Culture and sights


Sayyida Zainab Mosque

About 75 percent of Damascus' population are Sunni Muslims . Six percent of the population are Alawis (Nusairians). Another four percent are distributed among Druze , Shiites , Ismailis , Yazidis and Jews .

15 percent are Christians of various denominations. The Melkite Orthodox constitute the largest Christian community. Others profess to the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Syrian Catholic and Greek Catholic Churches united with Rome as well as the Maronites .

Believers from the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East , also known as the Apostolic Church of the East, live in the capital. There are also various Protestant , Roman Catholic and Syrian Orthodox communities. The patriarchal seat of the Syrian Orthodox Church is located in St. George's Cathedral .

Although there have been a few interdenominational disputes in the history of Damascus, such as in 1860, coexistence is predominantly peaceful.

In 2006, President Bashar al-Assad paid a Christmas visit to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch , Ignatios Hazim . The patriarch resides in Damascus. It was the first Christmas visit by a Syrian president to the patriarch since the country gained independence in 1946.


The National Museum , opened in 1936, houses an exhibition of archaeological and historical finds. You can see, among other things, documents from Ugarit from the 14th century BC. More than 4000 years old sculptures from Mari , marble and terracotta statues from Palmyra , the wall paintings of the synagogue of Dura Europos from the 2nd century AD, Korans from the 13th century as well as Damascus weapons and old surgical instruments.

The Army Museum, not far from the National Museum, houses a collection of Damascus weapons, relics and equipment from the first and so far only Syrian cosmonaut Muhammad Achmed Faris , who circled the earth with Soyuz TM-3 in 1987 , as well as a representation of the conflicts with Israel from a Syrian perspective.

Other museums in the Syrian capital include the Museum of Syrian Art and Folk Traditions in the Azim Palace and the “October War Panorama” museum. The latter shows a model of the city of Quneitra on the Golan Heights and a film that documents the Syrian view of the conflict over the city.


Umayyad mosque
Umayyad Mosque courtyard
Damascus Citadel with Saladin Monument

The old town of Damascus with many alleys is narrow and densely built up. Typical of the Damascus architecture of the old town are houses with an inner courtyard, to which all windows and doors open. Lemon and bitter orange trees stand around the fountain, which is present in most cases.

The Citadel of Damascus is an almost completely preserved Ayyubid fortress in the Syrian capital. A specialty of the defense technique is the Ayyubid north gate. It had two opposite outer gates that led into the gate hall. The citadel was reached through a second gate at right angles to the outer gates and the third, old Seljuk gate. A hall building was attached to the gate hall. This served as a staging area for military departments to carry out raids during a siege. The unity of the gate hall and hall building is a typological peculiarity in the castle building of the region. The east gate has a similar, albeit smaller, facility.

Buildings of Islam

The old town of Damascus has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 . It is divided from east to west by the Via recta , which is not completely straight, but has a slight bend. In the north-west of the old town is the Umayyad Mosque , the city's most important place of worship. The city's famous souks , especially the covered souq al-Hamidiya, can be found around the mosque . To compensate for the conversion of the Church of John the Baptist into the Umayyad Mosque, the Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus from the 2nd century, which had also previously been converted into a mosque, was returned to the Christians in 706 . The synagogue in the former Jewish district of Dschobar was destroyed in 2014.

There are also many hammams in the old town . The Hamam Nur-ed-Din should be mentioned above all . Also worth seeing is the Chan As'ad Pascha , a caravanserai that was built by the Ottoman governor Asad Pascha al-Azim, who also had the Azim Palace , another attraction, built.

The Sayyida Zainab Mosque , built in 1979, is ten kilometers south of the center ; Sayyida Zainab was the granddaughter of Muhammad and is buried here. For Shiite Muslims, the tomb and mosque built in Iranian tradition are an important pilgrimage destination.

Building of Christianity

In the northeast of the old town behind the Thomas Gate Bāb Tūmā and the east gate Bab Sharqi lies the centuries-old Christian quarter with many old churches. The Ananias Church was, according to tradition in the house of the biblical Ananias built of the Paul hung up his hand so that it regained his eyesight. The church is about six meters deep in the ground and is one of the oldest Christian sacred buildings. Also worth mentioning is the chapel of St. Paul in the Bab Kisan city ​​gate . According to the Bible, the apostle was lowered from the city wall by his followers in a basket so that he could flee from his persecutors. The Marienkirche is said to have been built around the year 200 near the Roman triumphal arch, which has served as the Mariamite cathedral of the Greek Orthodox Church for centuries . The Saint Sarkis Cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church on Bab Sharqi dates from the 15th century . Many churches date from the 19th century, when the Tanzimat reforms in the Ottoman Empire allowed new churches to be built. One of these is the Al-Zeitoun Church , cathedral of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church . The Greek Orthodox Church of St. John of Damascus was also built during this period .

Saladin mausoleum


The Tischrin (Tishreen) Park is one of the largest public parks in Damascus. Within the park there are themed gardens showing, for example, the citadel of Aleppo , the Islamic cultural capital of 2006. Public concerts are held in the park in summer. The International Flower Festival is held annually between June 15 and 30.

The park with the Saladin mausolem is also worth mentioning. The marble grave of Sultan Saladin was donated by the German Emperor Wilhelm II. In 1898. The wooden sarcophagus in the mausoleum made in 1193 is adorned with a Kufic inscription and numerous carvings. The tomb with the red dome and the surrounding garden is located outside the northern wall of the Omayyad Mosque.

Jebel Qāsiyūn (1150 meters) is Damascus' local mountain. The restaurants located there offer a good view of the city.


Four football teams from Damascus play in the country's top division. Al-Jaish is the most successful club with eleven national titles. Home is the 10,000-seat al-Fiha stadium. The team al-Wahda , playing in the Abassid Stadium (capacity for 45,000 people), became national champions once . The most successful division of the club is the women's basketball team. There are also teams of men and women in martial arts and handball. The football club Al-Madschd has not yet had a national title . He also plays his home games in the Abassid Stadium. Al Shorta is new to the premier soccer league for the 2006/2007 season .

The American chess master Yasser Seirawan was born in Damascus . He won a large number of tournaments in the 1980s , including twice (1983 and 1987) the major Lugano Open and the New York Open (1985 and 1987). In 1990 he won in Haninge before the ex-world champion Anatoli Karpow . At the Chess Olympiad in Dubai in 1986 he defeated the then reigning world champion Garry Kasparov .


City center

One of the most famous markets in the capital is Suq al-Bzourieh. You can buy fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices and confectionery there since the 12th century. The Suq al-Hamidiyya is located near the Umayyad Mosque. The offer in the shops on the covered streets ranges from leather goods to silver and textiles.

The Souq al-Harir has also been close to the Umayyad Mosque since 1553. The market, which was established under the government of Shamsi Ahmed Pasha (1552–1555), sells a wide variety of goods, from perfumes to textiles. At the center of the market is al-Qishani, one of Damascus' many public baths.

Named after the Ottoman governor Ali Haydar Midhat Pasha (1878–1879), the souq, completed under his rule in 1878, near the city gate Bab al-Jabiya, where the Ottoman Sinan Pasha mosque from the 16th century is located. The 19th century Maktab Anbar house is on a side street of Souq Midhat Pasha. Mostly handcrafted jewelry made of gold, silver, pearls and diamonds is on sale by the traders at the Souq al-Saghah.

Bawabe Dimashq was opened near the airport in 2008 . With 6012 seats, it is the largest restaurant in the world. (Before that, Thailand was the largest restaurant with 5000 seats). It mainly serves Arabic dishes.


Hejaz train station

Damascus is an important trading center for figs, almonds and other fruits from the area. Textiles, gold and silver goods, leather goods and inlays in wood, brass and copper goods are manufactured in the capital. Damascus is also a center of the clothing, food and printing industries.

The city's economy is undergoing structural change and is being transformed into a functioning market economy . This is to be financed with annual private investments, additional income from oil exports and investments from abroad.

Economic politicians see the next few years as the best opportunity for structural changes. The far-reaching changes include privatization, the dismantling of monopolies, deregulation of important sectors and the reduction of the public sector.

Problems are caused by the inadequate infrastructure and the extremely large housing shortage caused by the rural exodus. The industry, which is concentrated in the Damascus agglomeration , has insufficient disposal and purification capacities for wastewater, exhaust gas and waste. In addition to the numerous infectious diseases that are spread due to inadequate hygienic conditions, there are respiratory and skin diseases due to the toxic emissions from numerous industrial companies and car traffic. Private households pollute the air with numerous diesel stoves, especially in winter. The poorly cleaned diesel oil pollutes the air with sulphates .




The capital has an international airport, Damascus Airport. The Syrian airline Syrian Arab Airlines , based in Damascus, flies to national and international destinations in Africa and Asia, but no longer has any destinations in Europe since 2012 due to sanctions by the European Union due to the civil war.


Hejaz Railway in Damascus

In 1983 the city was connected to the standard gauge network of the railway by a branch line . The railway line is single-track and not electrified. The route between Damascus and Aleppo was recently completely overhauled and is used by modern trains around four times a day in each direction (travel time at least 4 hours). A new underground main station is planned for the future. In anticipation of this was Hejaz -Bahnhof ( terminus ) Damascus Kanawat closed and dismantled the tracks. Currently the only train station is the Kadem depot about five kilometers south. In the future, the Al Kaboun train station planned in the north of the city will function as the new main train station. This will be built directly at the central long-distance bus station, where all buses to northern, western and eastern Syria already start today. Likewise, the new main train station should enable transfer options to the future green underground line.

Public transport and road transport

On February 7, 1907, the electric tram opened during the Ottoman period . The network was ten kilometers long with six lines, including an overland line to Duma in the Rif Dimashq governorate . The track width was 1050 millimeters. In 1967 the traffic was stopped.

The inner streets of the capital are in poor condition and there is no efficient, high-capacity public transport system in the city, such as an underground , light rail or tram, that would relieve the street. Local public transport is handled by diesel-powered buses that have to share the lanes with private transport. The situation is somewhat better for the growing individual traffic on the western outskirts and with the recently built expressways to the modern satellite settlements in the north-western mountains. There are currently plans for a subway network with four lines. The first line (Metro Green Line) should be completed by 2016 with a total of 16 stations (construction period 2012 to 2016). The tender should have been issued in 2010/2011.


Damascus University, entrance to the Faculty of Law

The capital is the seat of a university, several colleges, research institutes and libraries. The Damascus University is a public university with over 85,000 students and 2,000 academic staff, the largest of four universities in Syria. It was created in 1923 through the merger of a medical school (founded in 1903) and a law school (founded in 1913), making it the oldest university in the country. Until the founding of the University of Aleppo in 1958, the university was called the Syrian University . Today it is divided into 15 faculties.

Damascus is also the seat of the “Center for Historical Documents” ( markaz al-waṯāʾiq at-taʾrīḫīya ), which functions as the Syrian national archive , and the “ Academy of the Arabic Language ” ( maǧmaʿ al-luġa al-ʿarabīya ).


The inhabitants of the city are called Damascus . In Arab countries (and in Turkey) the word "asch-Shām" ("the northern one") is used for Damascus (Dimashq is read in the newspaper and heard on the news, in everyday life the word Dimashq is almost never used in front). The four countries Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine become "Bilād el Shām" (بلاد الشام) called (countries of sham / of the north). The city gave the fabric types damask and damassé , as well as the plum (via Italian damascino ) the name.

A special forging technique is named after damask , damascene staging . It originated in India , the technology was then mainly cultivated in Persia. Alternating layers of high-carbon and low-carbon steel make Damascus sound particularly elastic and sharp. At the same time, there is a ribbon pattern that is reminiscent of the fabric. There are also pieces with special regular patterns (wave damask, ribbon damask etc.), which are often emphasized by etching.

The term “Damascus lesson” and the phrase “ to experience his Damascus ”, which is hardly used today , refers to the biblical story of Paul , to whom Jesus appeared in a vision before Damascus, whereupon he converted to Christianity , which means a decisive experience that leads to a radical change of mind.

sons and daughters of the town

See also


Non-fiction books:

  • Immanuel Benzinger : Damascus 1 . In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Volume IV, 2, Stuttgart 1901, Sp. 2042-2048.
  • Klaus Dettmann: Damascus. An oriental city between tradition and modernity. Erlangen Geographical Works Heft 26, Erlangen 1969.
  • Klaus Stefan Freyberger : Damascus during the imperial era. Venue of local tradition and foreign influences. In: Damaszener Mitteilungen, Vol. 11, 1999, pp. 123-138.
  • Brigid Keenan: Damascus. Hidden treasures in the Orient . Stuttgart 2001. ISBN 3-7630-2384-4
  • Hugh Kennedy: The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates. The Islamic Near East from the sixth to the eleventh century . London 1986, ISBN 0-582-49312-9 (English)
  • Carmella Pfaffenbach: Damascus: From the traditional oriental city to the culturally globalized metropolis of the south . In: Günter Meyer (Hrsg.): The Arab world in the mirror of cultural geography . Publications of the Center for Research on the Arab World (ZEFAW) Vol. 1, Mainz 2004, pp. 62–69
  • Wayne T. Pitard: Ancient Damascus. A historical study of the Syrian city-state from earliest times until its fall to the Assyrians in 732 BC . Winona Lake 1995, ISBN 0-931464-29-3 (English)
  • Louis Pouzet: Damas au VIIe / XIIIe s. Vie et structures religieuses in une métropole islamique . Beyrouth 1988.
  • Christian Reder, Simonetta Ferfoglia (ed.): Transfer project Damascus. urban orient-ation (research, discussions, essays, German / Arabic) , Edition Transfer at Springer Vienna-New York 2003, ISBN 3-211-00460-2
  • Dorothée Sack : Damascus. Development and structure of an oriental-Islamic city. (Damascus research, vol. 1) Philipp von Zabern, Mainz 1989, ISBN 3-8053-0977-5
  • Jean Sauvaget: Les monuments historiques de Damas . Beirut 1932
  • Frank Rainer Scheck, Johannes Odenthal: Syria. High cultures between the Mediterranean and the Arabian desert . 5th edition, DuMont, Ostfildern 2011, pp. 124–171, ISBN 978-3-7701-3978-1
  • Michael Teupel: Damascus - Syria. International Travel Books, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-00-024099-7
  • Theodor Wiegand (ed.): Damascus. The ancient city (Scientific publications of the German-Turkish Monument Protection Command , issue 4), Berlin 1921
  • Theodor Wiegand (Ed.): Damascus: Die Islamische Stadt (Scientific publications of the German-Turkish Monument Protection Command, issue 5), Berlin 1924
  • Nicola Ziadeh: Damascus under the Mamluks . Oklahoma 1964

Fiction and travel reports:

Web links

Commons : Damascus  - album with pictures
Commons : Damascus Governorate  - Collection of images
 Wikinews: Damascus  - on the news
Wikivoyage: Damascus  Travel Guide
Wiktionary: Damascus  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Zoba: Bible Lexicon. Retrieved March 9, 2016 .
  2. Welt.de: This battle almost destroyed the Ottoman Empire
  3. Gerhard Schweizer: Understanding Syria . Stuttgart 2015, ISBN 978-3-608-94908-7 , pp. 265 .
  4. items for possible inclusion , in the list of endangered World Heritage
  5. Report from Syria: Escape from Reality in Damascus. In: tagesschau.de. Retrieved June 22, 2016 .
  6. Fire Destroyed Historic Market in Damascus , orf.at, April 24, 2016, accessed on April 24, 2016.
  7. Dawn Chatty: Displacement and Dispossession in the Modern Middle East , 2010, p. 267 “ Kurds in Syria: Stateless among citizens ”. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  8. ^ EU sanctions against the Syrian regime once more strengthened. Council of The European Union, October 15, 2012
  9. ^ The Syrian Railway Company. syrische-eisenbahn.de
  10. A metro in Damascus. ( Memento of July 8, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) damascus-metro.com