Damascene Sword …. Symbol of Immunity, Bravery

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Damascus city had a great reputation in sword industry. The "Damascene Sword" was well- known and distinguishable from other swords. It was made of a high quality metal. The material from which the sword was made has remained a secret. Many attempts (including Europeans) were made to discover the components of this metal, but all of them failed.

Several stories were narrated about the Damascene Sword. One story says that the Damascene sword could cut steel materials. Another story says that a piece of silk was cut as it fell on its edge.

History Professor, Fayssal al-Abdullah, said that the industry of the Damascene sword dates back to the 8th century and that the legendary reputation of the Damascene sword was crystallized during the campaigns of Crusaders when the Europeans found themselves in front of soldiers who were able to defend their homeland with more developed and strong swords than the ones they had.

A monument of the Damascene sword has been erected at the Umayyad Square that signifies the strength and the immunity of the city and tells about the victories and achievements that the people had accomplished in the country.

Sh. Kh

GDAM to Prepare National Cadre to Preserve Syrian Artifacts

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Within the framework of its plan to prepare a national cadre to preserve and renovate Syrian antiquities and archeological findings, the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums (GDAM) began to organize training courses for students of the Antiquities Department at the Antiquities and Museums Faculty of Damascus University.

The courses aim to provide students with the opportunity to practically take part in all activities relating to the renovation of archeological sites and artifacts in Syria.

This is the first time the GDAM carries out such an activity which guarantees fruitful cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Damascus University, said Director of the Laboratories at the GDAM Kumait Abdullah in a statement to SANA. He stressed that the courses are open for all the students of Antiquities Department.

Ghazwan Moustafa Yaghi, Director of the Intermediate Institute for Antiquities and Museums affirmed that cooperation between the Culture Ministry and Damascus University aims to "enhance the skills of our students in discovering, renovating and maintaining our artifacts."

Mahmoud Assayed, a GDAM expert, said "building a distinguished national cadre capable of accurately studying our antiquities so we will be no longer dependent on foreign archeological mission in studying our archeological findings, is the main objective of the courses."

H. Mustafa

National plan for translating books into nine languages

The Syrian Book General Commission announced in a press conference held on Monday the commencement   of the national plan for translation.

The four-year plan mainly aims to disseminate culture of reading and develop awareness towards enhancing national belonging and adherence to identity as well as openness to other cultures.

The aforementioned goals could be realized through encouraging high-quality translation into nine languages within an integrated national system and providing  Arab library with original books of different cultures.

The plan, which also focuses on translating the Syrian Arab intellectuals' masterpieces into nine languages, seeks to document national efforts in the field of translation and post bulletins on the plan on internet to be available to all readers.

Workshops and conferences on translation are also to be mounted to boost the plan.

All types of books

Culture Minister, Lubana Mushawih, sees that the plan would help have a good store of literature and art translated into Arabic language to build knowledge society.

She told reporters that would-be translated books are to be selected by four specialized committees under accredited standards.

"Within the plan, books of literature, art, sociology, philosophy, management and Information Technology are to be translated, and six translated books on Greek philosophers are to be re-printed," the minister said.

She hopes that all parties interested in cultural sector in Damascus University, Arabization center and Arab Writers Union to present proposals to develop the plan.

Approval received

The Commission's Director General clarified that the plan was prepared in four months and the committees contain advisors on nine languages – Dutch, English, French, Italian, Polish, Turkish, Russian, Spanish, and Persian.

Waddah al-Khatib added that the Damascus-based commission has got approval for translating the selected books from publishing houses.

In all, this plan would provide readers, who would evaluate it later, with full idea about western culture in all aspects.

Basma Qaddour 

Damascus Keeps Inspiring Syrian Artists

Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, has been a source of inspiration to many Syrian artists whose paintbrushes continue to depict the city’s beauty and matchless glorious history.

 Syrian plastic artists Asem Zakarayya, Mohammad Nazeer al-Baroudi and Hisham al-Khayyat, who represent different schools of art, expressed their love to Damascus by depicting the intimate details of the Damascene life in more than thirty paintings which are currently on show at the Abu Rummaneh Cultural Center in Damascus.

Works displayed at the exhibition, which was held under the patronage of the Culture Ministry, showed the way each one of the artists sees Damascus.

Artist al-Baroudi's fourteen paintings embodied the Damascene environment, its traditional vocations even the barber and the hakawati. The artist also pictured Damascus gates with great passion using red and green oil colours which, according to him, suggest optimism, hope and vividness.

Artist and Architect Hisham Khayyat depicted in his ten panels the wonderful Damascene houses, alleys, districts and khans. He tried to employ his architectural skills in his works using shade and light beautifully to make the painted material looks normal.

In a statement to SANA, al-Khayyat said that being an architect, he used degrees of black and white colours to make his works different from those of other artists.

In his paintings, artist Asem Zakarayya lets the simple life of people in Damascus old alleys and the natural scenes in the old city speak about the peaceful nature of the Damascenes.

Haidar Yazeji, Head of the Plastic Artists Union, said the paintings participating in the exhibition are very distinguished as they have deep themes and document the intimate atmosphere of people's life in Damascus.

"We have to preserve these documentary panels either through encouraging artists or asking them to work on such subjects as most artists are living in the old but historically rich city," Yazegi said.

Critic Marwan Murad said that the Syrian plastic art movement  has witnessed notable development, pointing out that each one of the artists participating in the exhibition has a special technique, but they share love to Damascus, the beloved of all Syrians.

Murad added that artist Khayyat was so creative in using his pencil to draw beautiful miniatures and decorations usually found at Damascene houses.

H. Mustafa    

Golan Apple, a Story of Glory

Not like any other kind of fruits grown in Syria, the occupied Syrian Golan’s apple is so dear to the hearts of all the Syrians who have a strong belief that Golan, the usurped part of our beloved country, will be restored soon to its motherland, Syria.

The Syrians, look at the Golan apple with great love and buy it not only because it is delicious, but because they smell in it the fragrance of the fertile soil of occupied Golan.

Every year, the Syrian government welcomes tens of tones of the Golan farmers’ apple production and sends them to the local markets. For both the government and the farmers this is not just an ordinary marketing operation, it is but a humanitarian and national duty through which  the link between the Syrian farmers in occupied Golan and their motherland is enhanced, and farmers revenue is increased.

Smelling the Golan apple, one can feel how much effort, the Golan farmers have exerted to grow such kind of delicious fruit, and by doing this they send a message of challenge to the Zionist occupation stressing that they are adherent to every inch of their land and that they will keep working hard till they are able to drive their truckloads of apples directly to the fruit markets of Damascus without a permission from occupation authorities.  

The Syrians in the occupied Golan strongly believe that confronting the enemy needs sacrifices and necessitates mobilizing all potentials to win the battle against occupation and to maintain the Syrian people’s right which says in all languages of the world that “the land of Golan is and will continue to be a Syrian Arab land whether the enemy accepts it or not.”

We, as Syrian citizens, are looking forward, with great nostalgia and love,  to seeing the sun of liberation rising over the Syrian Golan heights.

Firas al-Taleb