Memories of Syria

Memories of Syria

Syria is a special place for me. My father is from Damascus and I’ve visited a few times since childhood.  I blame these trips for contributing to my current desire for exotic cultural travel

Damascus

The capital, Damascus, is the oldest continually inhabited city in the world! It has survived thousands of years of changing civilizations; Egyptians, Romans, Mongols, Ottomans, French and finally becoming the modern Arab republic of today.

Syria
View from Mt. Quassioun

Syria is not teaming with tourists like Egypt, Morocco or Turkey so you don’t get the usual sort of touristy annoyances. The Syrians are welcoming, friendly people and the food here is some of the best in the Middle East.   Syria is full of ancient treasures…Roman ruins, crusader castles, ancient churches and mosques, beautiful beaches and much more.  

Syria

As you know from the news, Syria is in the midst of a horrible war with a massive refugee crisis. I want to pay tribute to the Syria I remember and share my wonderful experiences from this beautiful intriguing place.

Statue of Saladin, one of the great heroes who defended against the Crusaders

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This is my cousin’s lovely villa just outside Damascus complete with beautiful rose garden.

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This is one of my favorite places to shop…the Takiyya Suleimaniah Souq. A handicraft market with everything from art, jewelry, pottery to exquisite wood and metal works true to the style passed for generations in Damascus.

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I love these oil paintings and have many in my home.

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I had to buy one of these gorgeous backgammon sets…will learn backgammon eventually. All the gorgeous wooden items with beautiful detail and inlaid precious stones were hard to just walk by and not purchase.

Umayyad Mosque

One of the most important sites in Damascus…the Umayyad Mosque. After the Arab conquest of Damascus in 634, the mosque was built on the site of a Christian basilica dedicated to John the Baptist, honored as a prophet by both Christians and Muslims. According to legend, the building contains the head of John the Baptist. The mosque is also believed by Muslims to be the place where Jesus will return at the End of Days. Saladin’s tomb is also here.

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This is known as the Jesus Minaret…where the Koran says he will appear

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On the left is the Dome of the Treasury
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It’s hard to be fabulous in this outfit
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Tomb of John the Baptist where worshippers pray for healing

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This mosque is one of largest and oldest in the world and considered the 4th most important holy Islamic siteSyria

The Old City

Walking though the old city of Damascus is fun. I loved just wandering and getting lost in the narrow streets.

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Hookah pipes (called Nargila here)
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Hijabs in every color
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Learning his father’s craft

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It’s hard for me to talk about Syria without becoming emotional. Well-intentioned friends and colleagues often ask me how my family is doing. It’s hard for me to casually speak about a cousin who was tortured in prison, or another cousin who paid smugglers to get out of the country because he was terrified for his life. Some family is still there, somehow surviving, while many have been displaced. A few lucky ones are in the United States.  We would love to have more family with us but politically, it is an uphill battle.  I am thankful everyday for the fact that my family is still alive.

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My cousin posing with a man just chilling  and smoking Nargila

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Gold is EVERYWHERE and as pure as you can get
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the oranges here are the best I’ve tasted

You can see the remains of Roman Temple of Juputer at the entrance to the Souk El Hamidiyeh.

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I am kind of obsessed with these old genie lamps

Syria 2008

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A restaurant in a traditional Damascene courtyard

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Chapel of St. Paul with the famous window in which he escaped

A fun night out to dinner with dancing around the restaurant

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My beautiful cousins:Syria

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Inside the Grand Souq at night

Maaloula

Ancient Christian city where the Aramaic of Jesus is still spoken. Home to the first convent built in 320 AD.

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Fabled crack through the mountain said to be made by Jesus for St. Taqla to escape through. This is the kind of historical sight that literally blows my mind.

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Inside the cave-like church

Aleppo

Syria’s largest city and literally the crossroad of civilization. The silk road from east Asia ended here. Aleppo is frequently in the news because the war has completely devastated it.

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The Citadel of Aleppo built in 1st century BC.
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Theater in the Citadel

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Aleppo has such a rich history. This article shows very well the current state of many important historical sites with before and after pictures. It truly breaks my heart.

Syria Heritage in Ruins

I wish with all my heart to someday be able to visit again.

 

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Syria

 

About The Author

csaradar

16 COMMENTS

  1. I do what I want to | 27th Jan 17

    I really hope you can soon visit it in peace

    • csaradar | 28th Jan 17

      Thank you 🙂

  2. stylelullaby | 29th Nov 16

    What a wonderful post! Syria is definitely a beautiful place xo, sharon

    http://www.stylelullaby.com/personal/redesigned-office-space-with-desenio/

  3. Karen | 26th Nov 16

    What a moving post. I really hope that you get back to Syria soon. I can’t imagine how difficult it is now.

    • csaradar | 27th Nov 16

      Thanks Karen. I’m so fortunate to have been born in the US. Also lucky that some of my Syrian family has made it here as well!

  4. Olga Maria Czarkowski - Dreams in Heels | 26th Nov 16

    Wow what a beautiful post and tribute. It is so sad what is going on in Syria. Such a rich history and culture. It truly breaks my heart.

    • csaradar | 27th Nov 16

      Thanks for your kind words Olga:)

  5. Liz | 26th Nov 16

    Such an amazing country! And what happened to it 🙁

    • csaradar | 27th Nov 16

      Thanks Liz. Appreciate your comments:)

  6. Emily | 26th Nov 16

    What an amazing country! Posts like this are so crucial to remind people of the human aspect behind the war, what Syria was like beforehand, especially when all we see on the media are images of war. Thank you so much for this!

    • csaradar | 26th Nov 16

      Thanks Emily. I completely agree with your sentiments and that was totally one of my goals:)

  7. Kellie | 26th Nov 16

    Wow. What a beautiful journey. I love the look of the markets and various architecture. My heart goes out to you and your family. Xo

    • csaradar | 26th Nov 16

      Thanks so much Kellie. The old markets are really cool. Appreciate your comments:)

  8. youngandundecided | 26th Nov 16

    So heartbreaking! From your pictures Syria looks absolutely beautiful! My thoughts are with you and your family, and I too hope you one day get to return!

    • csaradar | 26th Nov 16

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I hope so!!

  9. Marilyn | 23rd Sep 15

    Beautiful tribute, Cherene!

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