Travel tips you can trust
Damascus Old City
Damascus in Syria is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) cities in the world. Although most of sprawling modern-day Damascus is nondescript, its walled Old City and its Umayyad Mosque are outstanding.
Streets from the past
Reserve ample time to explore the ancient streets within Damascus Old City. They are lined with venerable homes - and some of the balconies of the dwellings overhang the narrow alleys so far that they almost kiss those on the other side.
The crowded, covered, stunning Souk (marketplace) is also a must-do Damascus Old City experience. Goods of many varieties are hawked by shopkeepers verbally jostling each other for the attention of passing buyers.
A visitor magnet
The top tourist draw of Damascus Old City is the Umayyad (also spelled Omayyad) Mosque. It was erected around 700 AD.
The Umayyad is renowned for the immense prayer hall. Its floors are blanketed with valuable oriental rugs.
Courtyard and mosaics
Other Umayyad Mosque marvels include the vast courtyard (for scale, notice the blue-robed person in the photo) and the stunning mosaic work on the walls and archways.
Today the Umayyad Mosque is the fourth holiest site of Islam (after Mecca, Medina and the Dome of the Rock)