Shopping in Damascus

Most important feature of the goods any tourist can buy in Syria in General and in Damascus in particular is that they are cheap compared with the neighboring countries. Prices in Syria are generally competitive.

Goods are various and of several categories in relation to goodness, something the tourist can easily discover because same goods have prices that vary between the cheap and the expensive.

In addition to that there is the factor of trust worthiness, a main characteristic of the Syrian merchant and worker who never cheats when speaking about the qualities of his goods. If a tourist has the desire to buy local hand made products; like brocade, silk, embroidered caftans, rugs of different designs and colors, silver and copperware, carved wooden items, mosaics, Arabic line decorations, colored Ajami frescoes on wood, leather ware, potteries, jewelry of different kinds, he can be quite sure that he is buying first quality products manufactured by craftsmen who had inherited their skills generation after generation.

Where to shop:

Damascus, like most of eastern cities of traditions, have specialized markets. In another word every market is specialized of a certain kind of goods and products.

Those interested in silk, brocade, damask, aghabani, wool tissues, and readymade wears can find their needs in Souk al Hamidiye where there are shops that also sell souvenirs, gifts, copperware, carved wood inlaid with mother of pearl and silver threads, high quality carpets, oriental musical instruments, and shops of beverages and ice cream made of fresh milk, and pistachio and restaurants famous of their local plates. All this can be found in Souk al Hamidiye of the 250 shops, known locally as the souk of the one thousand and one items.

If the tourist wants to buy cotton textiles, readymade wears and cotton under wears for men, women and children, bed sheets and towels, metallic, wooden and leather furniture, and curtains he can go to Souk al Hariqa.

Those interested in narjilas (hoka), backgammons, chess boards oriental copper wares, metallic and plastic home appliances, and culinary can find them, in Souk al Asrounieh, a branch of al Hamidiye.

Women interested in readymade clothes, caftans, jallabias and scarves, colored beads, cosmetics and embroideries can find them in Souk al Harir (Bazaar of Silk).

Traditional Arab clothes including jallabias of men, head band and kafias, wool kelims, herbs, aromatic oils can be found in Souk Madahat Pasha, a parallel souk to alHamidiyeh with 322 shops. Modern men, women and children clothes and shoes, watches and clocks can be found in alSalhieh. Tourists are usually fond of spices with their distinguished smells, seeds, candies cookies, dried fruits marmalades and qamareddin, and colored candles, can go to Souk al Buzourieh south of al Hamidiyeh. Gold and silver jewelry are found in Souk al Sagha(Gold Souk) where the tourist can find elegant designs and latest models of golden jewelry manufactured by universally renowned skilled goldsmiths.

People interested in jewelry inlaid with precious stones, swords and daggers with sheaths plated with gold or silver, carved wood designs, colored handmade glass in addition to the other traditional products, china, pottery rosaries, oriental musical instruments and paintings can find them in the Handicraft Bazaar behind the Ministry of Tourism.

Those who stay in Damascus can wander in all these markets in a short time since they are all in a circle of a diameter of no more than three kilometers, which means that the tourist can walk from a souk to another in five minutes time especially if he limited his visits to the souks inside the old city.


Haifaa Mafalani