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On the road to Damascus


View 2010 Colombo, Lebanon, Syria & Aceh on alexchan's travel map.

large_5550_12794585982347.jpgIraq ... that's the 2nd country beginning with "I" that I won't be going to ... the first one shall not be named while in the region!
Getting to Damascus [Damascus-travel-guide-1184988]

My hotelier offered to give me a ride to the bus this morning (for a small fee of course). Strangely he didn’t take me to the bus station but to the various restaurants (rest stops) for various intercity buses. It would have been a couple of hours waiting at the first restaurant but fortunately he found me a bus departing immediately at a second restaurant.

Along the way I managed to get a shot of “Iraq” road signs that we missed out on much closer to the border when we were in Deir Al-Zor.

Visiting the Umayyad Mosque

As I only had a dorm bed on the roof top of a hotel in Damascus, there was little to detain me there .large_5550_12794585982179.jpgDmascus souq... except for the beautiful courtyard. I soon hit the souk and streets to absorb the Damascus atmosphere. To me, there’s nothing more special about Damascus than the Umayyad mosque.

I expected that I’d be given a cloak to wear since I was in shorts (which just covered my knees) and an Indian cotton shirt which was translucent. Wrong! They insisted that I go through “as is”. Seems wrong to me! I did notice that men with shorts above the knee level were given the cloaks.

It is a beautiful and tranquil place. It had its beginnings as a pagan temple about 3000 years ago but became a basilica then a mosque in 636 AD. Most of what we see now was built by the Umayyad rulers in the decade following the conversion into a mosque

The Umayyad mosque has a shrine to John the Baptist (Prophet Yahya, peace be upon him, to Muslims). He’s supposedly buried in the mosque ... I’m not too sure if that’s with or without his head as he was decapitated.

There is also an unofficial believe that Jesus (Prophet Isa, peace be upon him, to Muslims) will descend through the tallest minaret in the mosque ... so it is called the Jesus minaret.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Syria

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