Umayyad Mosque in Damascus

3 July 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  7 minutes

The shrine of John the Baptist (Prophet Yahya) © Lars Mongs, Arxfoto/cc-by-4.0

The shrine of John the Baptist (Prophet Yahya) © Lars Mongs, Arxfoto/cc-by-4.0

The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus, located in the old city of Damascus, the capital of Syria, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. Its religious importance stems from the eschatological reports concerning the mosque, and historic events associated with it. Christian and Muslim tradition alike consider it the burial place of John the Baptist‘s head, a tradition originating in the 6th century. Muslim tradition holds that the mosque will be the place Jesus will return before the End of Days. Two shrines inside the premises commemorate the Islamic prophet Muhammad‘s grandson Husayn ibn Ali, whose martyrdom is frequently compared to that of John the Baptist and Jesus.   read more…

Damascus, capital of Syria

29 April 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  8 minutes

Saladin mouselum tomb © - Jan Smith/cc-by-2.0

Saladin mouselum tomb © – Jan Smith/cc-by-2.0

Damascus is the capital and largest city of Syria. Aleppo comes in second. It is commonly known in Syria as ash-Sham (Arabic: ash-Shām) and nicknamed as the City of Jasmine (Arabic: Madīnat al-Yāsmīn). In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major cultural and religious center of the Levant. The city has an estimated population of 1,711,000 (2009 est.). Located in southwestern Syria, Damascus is the center of a large metropolitan area of 2.6 million people (2004). Geographically embedded on the eastern foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range 80 kilometres (50 mi) inland from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean on a plateau 680 metres (2,230 ft) above sea-level, Damascus experiences a semi-arid climate due to the rain shadow effect. The Barada River flows through Damascus.   read more…

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