Museums In Syria

History and Syria are inseparable identities. In the land of Syria, man planted the first grain, on the banks of the River Khabour he discovered copper. Syrian man manufactured iron, steel and bronze alleys and was the first to use potteries for cooking. In Tall al Baharia the earliest writings were discovered. Inhabitants of Karmasha in Hama were considered the earliest human dynasties before the discovery of the Neanderthal man. Syria offered humanity the first alphabet of Ugarit (Ras Shamra) and the first musical piece in the world. So isn't it just for Syria to boast of its achievements.

To preserve these unique pieces of heritage Syria had established several museums to include the experiences of thirty three civilizations that had flourished on its land, and had maintained more than 2500 historical sites almost rare in their beauty.

Museums in Syria are:

1- In Damascus:

- The National Museum: Damascus is proud of its rich National Museum, first established 1919 in a part of al Madrasa al Adeliya. In 1936 It was moved to its present location west of Takiya al-Suleimaniya. Damascus National Museum is one of the richest Museums in the Arab world in terms of the diversity of its contents. It has five main wings: prehistoric wing, ancient civilizations wing, classical wing, wing of Arab- Islamic antiquities and modern art wing.

- Museum of People's Tradition (Al-Azem Palace): established in 1954 in the house of one of Damascus governors, built in 1749 north of souk al Buzouriyeh. Halls of the museum include more than ten thousand valuable articles that cover old fashioned clothes, furniture pieces inlaid with mother of pearl or carved wood, and folklore scenes that represent urban life in the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum has two wings: the wing of popular traditions and the wing of local industries - Army Museum: Based in al Takiya al Suleimaniya west of Damascus. The museum has several halls filled with items that represent the struggle of the Syrian people

  against foreign enemies. Other halls include arms and weapons used during the Great Syrian Revolt 1925-1927, in the war of Palestine 1948 and the wars that followed It also includes some of Syrian scientific achievements including the capsule in which the Syrian astronaut Mohammad Fares orbited space in 1978.

The Army Museum is made of 8 halls: Hall of arms, Hall of small fire arms, Hall of the October war of Liberation, Hall of heavy weapons, Hall of Syrian Revolts, Hall of flags and banners and Hall of rifles.

- Arab Calligraphy Museum: originated in the building of al Madrasa al Jaqmaqiya north of the Umayyad Mosque in 1975. It has samples that represent the development of Arabic writing and calligraphy and verses from the Holy Quran written in different colors gilded with gold, in addition to the texts of many famous poems, wisdoms and proverbs, all written in different types of calligraphy: Diwani Koufi, old antic, naskh, arabesque.......etc.Shortly It is a unique museum of its contents and diversity of exhibits.

- Museum of Arab Medicine and Science:

located in al Bimaristan al Nouri in al-Harika. It was established in 1978. Halls of the museum include samples of medical tools and instruments and documents that record the development of medicine and science in the Arab world and the discoveries of Arab scientists in the field of medicine, in addition to old medical tools still used till now, pharmaceutical products and glass containers of drugs. The museum exhibits astrological instruments like sextets and angles as well as Arab discoveries in the field of mathematics, geography, music and other sciences.

- Museum of the History of Damascus: located in a well known Damascene house (al- Azem House) in souk Sarouja. It was inaugurated in 1979 to include historical and social documents about Damascus as well as the documents of Islamic (Sharia)courts during

the Ottoman period

- Museum of Agriculture: Founded in the quarter of al Halbouni in 1962 and renovated in 1967. The museum contains a lot of information about plants, live stocks and rural life in Syria. It has two lobbies and seven halls, each of them bear the name of one of the ancient Arab scientists; namely: Ibn al Bitar, al Ishbili (the Sevillian- from Seville), al Souri (the Tyran - from Tyre) al Dainouri, al Dmiri, al Jaheth and al Qezwini.

- Museum of Deir Atiya in Damascus D.C. A Museum of utmost beauty and elegance. Work started in it in 1982 by the local people of Deir Atya. When finished, they offered it to the Ministry of Culture. The museum is built in five blocks of constructions divided into several halls and wings.

-The first block contains the wing of arms, the wing of valuable commodities,the wing of medical tools, the wing of documents and manuscripts and the wing of Roman Glass.

-The second block has the museum of the history of pottery.

-The third block has the museum of agricultural and vocational tools.

-The fourth block is used as a museum of local traditions and is divided into the hall of China, hall of brass and iron, hall of musical instruments and hall of spinning, weaving and wool knitting tools and machines.

-The fifth block contains the modern art museum which has portraits of the artists of Deir Atya in addition to some mural frescoes.

2- In the Governorate of Dara’a:

-Museum of Dara'a, downtown Dara'a. It contains many pieces from consecutive civilizations that had flourished in the region of Hawran from the stone age till the Islamic period.

- Museum of Bosra: Established in 1975 in the town of Bosra and located in one of the towers of the citadel surrounding the theater. It has two wings: one for antiquities and one for local folklore traditions.

3-In the Governorate of Sweida:

-Museum of Sweida: A new museum in Sweida was opened in 1990 to replace the old museum which was established in 1923 and later destroyed during the Syrian Revolt. In the modern museum there are ten halls, exhibits of which cover prehistoric ages, rural life in the region, Arab Nabateans and their arts, Roman, Byzantine periods, Nabatean and Hellenistic inscriptions and the Arab – Islamic period.

-Museum of Shahba:

Built in 1963 over the ground where 4 mosaic portraits decorating the floor of the palace of the local governor of Shahbain the third century A.D. (the Roman period).The museum includes, beside other antiquities, the head and foot of a statue of the Roman Emperor Philip the Arab.

-Museum of Quneitra:A building in khan Arnaba to contain the relics found in the region of the Golan.

4-In the Governorate of Homs:

-Museum of Homs: Established in 1975 in the building of the Arab Cultural Center down town Homs. Later it was transferred to the municipal building in 1983. It has ancient Syrian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Arab - Islamic items from different civilizations that lived in Homs.

-Museum of Peoples Traditions: in al Zahrawi Palace.

-Museum of Palmyra: Established in 1960 to include two wings: one for palmyran antiquities (established in 1976) two for Palmyran Folklore: originated in an old building and was restored in 1985. Now a separate museum.

-Museum of Crac des Chevaliers (al Hosn Castle): Inside the castle.

5-In the Governorate of Hama:

-Museum of Hama: Established in al-Azem palace in 1956 to include items discovered in the city from Roman, Byzantine and Islamic times.

-Museum of Apamea: Established in 1978 in the building of Khan al Mudiq which was built in the 16th century A.D. It includes mosaic portraits and ruins discovered in the region of Apamea.

6-In the Governorate of Aleppo:

-Museum of Aleppo: first established in 1928. Now it is located in a modern magnificent construction built in 1966. It has four main wings: Syrian antiquities, classical, Arab Islamic and modern art wing. This museum is known all over the world because it has treasures from the 4th millennium B.C.

-Museum of Peoples Traditions: Established in the house of al Ajami family in 1967 but later moved to the old house of the Ajekbash family in 1976.

-Museum of the Castle of Aleppo: Built inside the castle in 1979 to include the ruins discovered in the castle.

7-In the Governorate of Idleb:

-Museum of Idleb: A large important museum built in the central square of the city in 1978. It contains the real treasures of the ancient past of Idleb, particularly the finds of Ebla.

-Museum of Ebla:Located at the start of the road leading to the heart of Tall Mardikh; (Ebla).

-Museum of Maa'rat al No'man: Established down town al Maa'ra in 1985 in the building of Khan Murad Pasha. It has the remains of the region, mosaic portraits and a wing of people's traditions.

-Museum of Deir Ezzor: A large, rich museum stuffed with finds of ancient consecutive ages. It was first established in 1976 in the municipal building, later moved to the present building in 1986.

8- In the Governorate of al Raqqa:

-Museum of al-Raqqa. Established in 1983 in the restored building of the municipality.It has rich assortment of the finds of the region.

-Museum of Qalaa't Jaber. Established in 1973 but open to the public only in 1984. It has the finds of the castle.

-Museum of Lattakia: Established in 1976 and relics from the classical Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic ages.

9-In the Governorate of Tartous:

-Museum of Tartous: First established in 1960 in the old Basilica which was built in the twelfth century A D, and restored in 1954. It has antiquities from the Canaanite and following periods. It also has a wing of people's traditions.

-Museum of Arwad Island: located inside the castle in 1978. It includes several items of the marine life and local folklore of the island.

-Museum of Amrit: It includes the ruins found in Amrit.


Haifaa Mafalani