The Syria of today offers tourists as much a cultural experience as a sightseeing one, where ancient history provides a fascinating backdrop to everyday life on the streets                          


Landmarks of the New City Damascus

Ever since the eleventh century, when the old city was already too small for its inhabitants and their houses, the city started to expand beyond its walls.

 In the Nuri and Ayoubite periods new suburbs emerged; they were separate and independent of the city proper, but they, in turn, continued to grow at such a rate during the Mamluk period that they joined the wall, and the old city became indistinguishable from the new. Most notable among the suburbs was al-Salhieh at the foot of jabal Qassiun, al-Uqiba, al-Midan, and al-Mazzeh, Mamluk princes and sultans also erected numerous schools and mosques beyond the old city walls. During the Ottoman period four new edifices were constructed, namely: Sheikh Muhieddin, al-Takieh al-Suleimaniyeh, al-Darwishieh, and al-Sinanieh. In the nineteenth century, new roads were built across the city along with new residential areas. European architectural styles started to appear. Most important among the buildings of this period are: al-Hamidiyeh Barracks (where part of the University of Damascus stands today), al-Saraya (now housing the Ministry of the Interior), al-Muhajirin Palace (the former Presidential Palace), the National Hospital, and the Law School (now being renovated to accommodate the Ministry of Tourism). Construction of new roads, bridges, hospitals, public parks, hotels, government offices, and new residential suburbs began after Independence and is still going strong today.

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