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Saturday, June 13, 2020

Damascus: An Ancient city| History, Location & Monuments


The city of Damascus is located in the southwestern part of Syria and it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. This city is located in a desert oasis on the eastern foothills of the anti-Lebanese mountain range. Additionally, the eastern Mediterranean coast is located just 80 km (49.7 mi) west of the city. The region is believed to have been inhabited as early as the 7th millennium BCE. However, the city of Damascus was founded during the 3rd millennium BCE.

History of Ancient Damascus

From long centuries, Damascus was fought and captured by various civilizations. These includes many of the civilizations like The Aramaeans, Assyrian, Achaemenids, Greek, Nabataeans, Roman, Umayyad, Mongol, Turk and French. Many of these civilizations have left behind monuments that are still visible in the city today, though perhaps not for very long.
One of the oldest known names of this city is found in Ebla tablets. It has been proposed that the Amorites of the 18th century BC alluded to Damascus as Dimaski, another mention of the city can be found in Amarna Letters, in which it is called Dimashqa. The current English name of the city was possibly derived from the Greek version.
With the conquest of Alexander the Great in 333 BCE, Damascus became part of the Hellenistic world for nearly a thousand years. The Aramaic Quarter joined with a new Greek colony, which followed the Hippodamian, or Orthogonal, plan. The incorporation into the Roman Empire continued the Hellenistic tradition and gave Damascus the great position and support of a colonia under Hadrian (ruled CE 117–138) and Severus Alexander (ruled CE2–235). The citadel in the northwest corner rests on the Roman foundation. About 660 feet (200 m) east of it, is the great mosque of Damascus, built on the same site by the Umayyadas as the Byzantine Church of St. John, the Roman Temple of Jupiter (Eupiter Optimus Maxus Demaskanus), and the Aramian Sanctuary. Hadad's. Still preserved is the Ananias (Hanania) Chapel, commemorating the conversion of Saul Tarsus in Damascus, which became St. Paul, The Apostle. It is near the eastern end of Midhat Pasha Street, also known as the Street Called Strait in the New Testament, which was the Romanum's Decumanus maximus (the main east-west divergence).
Like the rest of Syria, the city was Christianized in the 4th century with the division of the Roman Empire in 395, Damascus was became an important military of outpost for the Byzantine Empire. Theistic, religious and political differences, however, are increasingly divided from the Syrian people. In addition, the 6th-century Persian Wars fought extensively on Syrian soil, ruining the country's economic life. As a result, Damascus reluctantly opened its doors to Muslim armies in 635.

Remaining monuments of Damascus


One of the monuments left by this dynasty is the Umayyad Great Mosque, also known as the Grand Mosque of Damascus. This mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world. Additionally, it is one of the oldest sites of continuous prayer in the Islamic faith. Prior to the construction of this mosque, it was the site of a Christian church dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The relationship with this Christian saint was maintained by Umayyads, as a temple in the mosque was placed at the head of the saint.
This cathedral, however, was not the main consecrated structure to sit on the site. It was converted from a Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter during the reign of the Roman emperor, Theodosius I. Although the ruins of the western gate of the temple are still visible today, it is not the only relic of the Roman period. Another less visible mark left by the Romans on the city is its plan. After Western conquest of Syria as a result of Pompey's conquest, the city of Damascus was completely redesigned based on Roman plans. This can be seen in the old city of Damascus, where it still retains its almost rectangular shape, as well as its Decmanus (east-west axis) and Cardo (north-south axis). These are considered standard elements in the Roman town plan.

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