Square, Plaza sights in Damascus
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Writing in 1875, Isabel Burton, wife of the British consul, describes the 'green' Al-Merjeh as looking like a 'village common'. By the end of the 19th century it was the hub of Damascus, a small park where the city's best hotels were, and a terminus for trams. Damascus was the first city in the Ottoman Empire to possess electric trams, with six lines converging here, and the power supplied by a waterfall on the Barada River. Another century on and the trams were gone.
Al-Merjeh is now a traffic island with a tiny patch of grass at the centre. It's also known as Saahat ash-Shohada or Martyrs' Sq. The martyrs referred to were victims of the French bombardments in 1925. The…