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Al-Hamidiyah is the most famous and important market of the East at all

It is located to the west of Old Damascus, inside the fence, this famous 600-meter-long souk, built along the original Roman route. It is among the popular shopping places in Damascus.

Al-Hamidiyah was built in 1780 under the rule of Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid. The souk is named “al- hamidiyah” because of the presence of the “Ahmadiyya School” in it, which used to be where the Omawy Mosque is today.

In that time, in 1988 the shop were renewed, and in 2000, the ancient basalt archaeological columns outside the shops were appeared, because of their archaeological importance.

The famous market completely is covered by an iron roof filled with small holes that allows the entry of sunlight during the day. Its floor is covered with black basalt stone. Its main thoroughfare is lined with clothes emporiums, handicraft shops and exqui­site antique pieces of oriental art, including copper-ware and wooden items encrusted with mother of pearl.  the narrow side streets are crowded with stalls selling everything from spices and dried fruits to cheap shoes and children’s toys.

There are more than 21 shop­ping outlets adjacent to hamidiyah, which have become famous for sell­ing specific goods and were named after the merchandise they offer.

Al-Bouzouria (seeds) Souk for example sells all kinds of spices and food items, especially grains and cereals. The most magnificent souk is the Tailors’ Souk , it is the place where fabrics are sold and can be tailored. The Souk of Gold for jewellery. The Souk of Wool and the Cotton Souk offer only wool and cotton cloth. And the Abaya Souk selling the long embroidered robes for which Damascus is famous

Al-Hamidiyah market has become an entertainment spot for the capital’s people, where they can stroll around, spend time in cafes in addition to being an outlet for shoppers.

While strolling through al- hamidiyah’s large walkway leading to the beau­tiful Umayyad Mosque, you can find Bekdash amazing Ice Cream shop in the center of Al hamidiyah. It is the favorite destination of ice cream lovers of all classes and has been visited by world leaders and famous artists, including former US president Bill Clinton, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Arab diva Oum Kalthoum. The only modern item in bakdash ice cream shop is the introduced refrigerator!! When there was no electricity, they used to collect ice in winter from Jabal Qasioun (the high mountain overlooking Damascus) and store it in caves for the making and pre­serving of the ice cream.

Al hamydyeh is one of the most important markets of the East at all, it is a commercial and industrial city in the middle of “old Damascus”, and it is also a meeting place for visitors and tourists from all over the world.

 

Lara Khouli

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