That bare rocky rise northwest of the city, Jebel Qassioun, provides a useful orientation tool. It's from the top of this mount that...
Dome of the Clocks
The Dome of the Treasury is counterbalanced by a domed structure on the eastern side of the Umayyad Mosque courtyard, built in the 18th...
Sayyida Zeinab Mosque
The splendid Iranian-built Sayyida Zeinab Mosque on the site of the burial place of Sayyida Zeinab, granddaughter of Mohammed, is about...
Lonely Planet review
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 column at the centre has nothing to do with martyrs; instead, it commemorates the opening of the first telegraph link in the Middle East - the line from Damascus to Medina. The surrounding streets are busy with cheap eateries, pastry shops and budget hotels.