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Bab Touma Churches: A Tale of Religious Tolerance




Inexhaustible tales  are dug in every ancient stone of Bab Touma . Tales that are abundant with the nobility of history and the light of holiness that shines its walls, buildings , alleys and  avenues , giving them more charm that attracts people to breathe the fragrance of an ancient past.

With every passing day, the ancient stones inside  the wall of Damascus in Bab Touma adds  a new mystery to  visitor ‘s curiosity to come once and again to identify those  unmatched features whose secrets are indeed revealed to local residents  who have preserved these places  from  the ancestors.

The  existence  of many churches in the heart  of this area gives the visitor a sense of being closer to God Almighty , especially when  embracing  the  minarets of mosques , creating  an atmosphere of religious  intimacy especially when mosque prayers melt with the ring of the church bill  to tell all visitors that  Damascus is the land of civilizations and the cradle of divine  religions.

Mai Othman, SANA reporter quoted the 60-year old Jawdat Raffoul , a resident of Bab Touma says that the most  beautiful in Bab Touma is the preservation  of its ancient legacy, adding that wondering in its  ancient lanes and alleys  recalls memoires of decades- old tales.

 Raffoul’s house adjoins the “ Sultanate of the  world” cathedral : an ancient church, situated in Lazarieh lane and dates back to  1860 AD . Raffoul  considered  this neighborhood as more  valuable and precious  than  the treasures of the  whole world. “ I do not want to leave the place, where I was  born and grown up, whatever temptations would be. ” he said .

Raffoul  added that along the main street of Bab Touma towards Bab Sharqi , there are  15 churches and monasteries.  Each is  considered as a unique   for ancient Syrian and Byzantine icons which  attract pilgrims , tourists and expatriates from all parts of the world .

 "Although different in terms of  construction , decoration and the presence of statues and arches, the building style of these churches and monasteries  are almost similar as if painted by the brush of the same  artist who gives each monument  a special character while preserving  the special color and characteristics,” Mr. Raffoul explained .

 “ The spirit of coexistence and religious  co-existence and tolerance experienced  in  the old city  of Damascus  and in Bab Touma, in particular , enabled this area occupying a special position for all Syrians."


T. Fateh