Damascus is the capital city and the seat for the Syrian government. It is one of the oldest and continuously inhabited cities in the world starting from the second millennium BC. It is located in the south-western of the country. Damascus sits on the plateau some 50 miles inland from the Mediterranean shore on the eastern foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. River Barada, which irrigates the fertile plateau, flows through the city. In Syria the city is known as ash-Sham in Arabic and it is nicknamed Jasmine. Damascus was made the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate from 661 to 750.
In 2011, the population of Damascus was estimated to be around 1.7 million individuals residing in the city. The city itself is located at the center of the broader metropolitan area made up of five other densely populated urban centers namely Douma, Harasta, Darayya, Al- Tall, and Jarama with a combined population of five million. Most of the residents of Damascus have been immigrants moving from rural areas to seek better opportunities in the city.
The iconic city of Damascus is melting point of culture with a rich history. It is a city of coffeehouses, bazaars, and restaurants serving a variety of cuisine as well as streetcar vendors all around town. Damascus has monuments and museums that are rich in history and culture spanning way back to the third millennium BC. One of the city's attractions is the Great Mosque of Damascus, built by the Umayyad Caliphates; it is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world and is considered to be the fourth holiest Islamic site. Away from the Mosque, in the west of the city lies the National Museum of Damascus, in the museum one will find prehistoric artifacts like skeletons and remains from the stone-age period. On display in the museum are tablets including the first alphabet preserved on the Ugarit tablet. There are Islamic materials including carvings, metal coins as well as scriptures from Umayyad to the Ottomans, which are available in the museum. In Damascus, there is an underground structure called House of Saint Ananias; it is believed the place is the remains of Ananias of Damascus residence who is believed to have baptized John the Baptist. In 2008, Damascus was made the Arab capital of culture.
The City of Damascus has a cold desert climate due to its position on the leeward side of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains shielding it from the Mediterranean currents. During summer the conditions are hot and dry due to lack of humidity in the air, and in winter it is cool with some rainfall. Snowfall is seldom in Damascus. The hottest period is from April to September with highs of above 40 degrees, while the coldest months are from December to March with lowest of -12 degrees.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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