Back to Damascus

Trip Start Nov 22, 2010
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11
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Trip End Jan 11, 2011


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Friday, December 17, 2010

After a week of exploring Syria, I return to where I entered the country, the capital and largest city, Damascus. By now, the weather had improved significantly. It is still cold, but not snowing or raining. Much better tourism weather.

Our guide takes us to the souk in the ancient part of the city, which still has visible bullet holes in the roof from the French siege in 1946. From there, we head to the Umayyad Mosque, which contains the head of John the Baptist, and was where the head of Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Muhammed, was taken (although it has since been moved to Cairo).

I also visit the tomb of Saladin and see a performance by a traditional story teller which is quite enjoyable, even though I can't understand a single word since the whole thing was in Arabic. I crash early and take off by myself next morning to wander through the old city. I walk down the Via Recta, a street mentioned by name in the New Testament, and still there 2,000 years later. I later visit the Roman Arch, several gates, the chapel of Saint Paul (built on the spot where he escaped over the walls of the city), and the ancient chapel of Saint Ananias.

We have our final group dinner at a wonderful hidden gem of a restaurant near the gates to the old city where we say goodbye to our guide and those in our group who were leaving the tour in Syria. 
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