Vacation in Damascus
For thousands of years Damascus has been a mecca for travelers seeking the historic and exotic. Now, most of the old section of the city
has been renovated and historic old homes have been turned into cafes, rooming houses, and eating places. And prices are incredibly low.
In the Bab Touma area, important for its Christian sites, you can find rooms in the old attractive and comfortable Damascene houses
for $80 to $100 per month. Contact Marwan or Fawaaz Azar, 011-963-11-543-1454.
The city is filled with low-cost restaurants. Beside the Umayyad Mosque, the first great mosque built in the Islamic world, is the Abo
Alez restaurant. In a beautifully-tiled old Arab house one dines on the best of Arab food for about $6. North of the mosque is Omayyad Palace where for $8
one can relish a fine Syrian mid-day buffet while enjoying traditional dancing by whirling dervishes.
For $2, taxis will take you to any part of the city. Minibuses are even less expensive.
Damascus is an urban center ideal for walking. In its heart, Souk al-Hamidiyah, the main shopping streets, is linked by a maze of connecting
streets to The Street Called Straight, where Saint Paul once walked.
Shops are filled with hand-blown glass products, silk brocade, brass and silver inlays, hand-woven rugs, antiques, carpets, clothing,
gold jewelry, and elaborate Damascene tablecloths.
All goods, except artisan products, are marked with very reasonable government controlled prices. Bargaining for handicrafts can bring
the marked prices down to less than half, but even the asking price is still a bargain.
Don Mills, Canada