Considered to be the absolute oldest inhabited city in the entire world, established around 10,000 BC according to historical records, Damascus is one of those places that has stood the test of time and has a unique story to tell for each and every individual who passes through her shadow. From the ancient Aramaeans to the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greco-Romans, the Islamic Arabs, the Seljuks, Mamluks, Timurlane, the Ottoman Empire, and the current ownership under Syrian rule, Damascus could be said to be the only city in the world which has seen nearly every major culture throughout the history of man pass through its walls. And while today it is a growing tourist destination for many, the old city itself is a major religious center filled with ancient traditions and buildings that resonate with the history which has been passed down for generations.
With so much history behind it, Damascus is the ultimate destination when it comes to taking a trip back in time. From places like the Souq al-Hamidiyya, an open-market bazaar with Roman columns surrounding, to the massive Umayyad mosque, once a Greek temple, a Roman temple, a church, a mosque, a combination of them, and now a mosque once again. Visit the National Museum of Damascus, the Sayyidah Ruqayya Mosque (burial site of the great Sultan of ancient times known as Saladin), or the seven city gates that still stand around the city, with the oldest dating back to Roman times. There is also the Cathedral of Damascus or the House of Saint Ananias, but many of the sites within Old Damascus are either falling into disrepair or are being demolished by the government for expansion of modern buildings. The World Monuments Fund listed several of the Old City sites on their 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world, with their future uncertain. With the future unknown, now is the perfect time to explore Damascus to make sure you get a chance to see the ancient history laid out before you.