Things to know when in Syria

Coffee & Tea

Drinking coffee and tea is very much part of everyday life in Syria. Tea is served in small glass cups and is often quite sweet. A cup of tea is offered many times when you are visiting shops etc. Coffee are similar to what you find in Turkey.

Strong and drunk without milk you will be asked how (sweet) you take your coffee before it is made.

Sugar is added when brewing the coffee and not added afterwards let the coffee rest for a while so that the "mud" can settle at the bottom you will usually get a glass of water with your coffee.

Al Marjeh Square

A historic monument in the heart of Damascus, also known as “martyrs’ square” (sahat ash-Shuhada’) is a major square in downtown Damascus Syria. The square was the central part of the city in the first half of the last century before Damascus expanded further. Just outside of the old city the square has come to play a vital integrative function as a geographic crossroads between the “old city” the colonial district and the popular suburbs. The square houses the Syrian ministry of Interior.

The post office building in Marjeh square in 1890. The ottomans first transformed the square into an administrative center in 1890.

Folkloric costumes

The Syrians are the first who made costumes in a very creative way as the inscriptions and embroideries reflect the wide imagination and innovation.

The shapes and the colors of costumes differed according to the occasion such as the daily work festivals, victories and weddings.

The folkloric costumes in the Syrian coast constitute a mixture between the costumes of various successive cultures in the coastal region including the Canaanite and the Aramaic cultures.

Clothes were made of the available materials in the local environment such as cotton silk and wool through using handlooms.

Khan As’ ad Pasha Al-Azm (2)

(Khan As’ad Pasha is a rich architectural piece of luxury details unparalleled in the world and the Arab-Islamic architecture is representing completely in it and people who are producing skilled architects in design those people live for art). French poet Lamartine

There is on the lintel of the gate a part of the arch surmounted by a circular interface is composed of curved lines intersect the circle inside this circle there was a small ruby luxury (lost during the earthquake). Beside the entrance there is a room which has two stone seats porters were using them for rest during unloading of goods. When you enter the khan’s bowl you can see a shape square courtyard and in the middle of it there is a large polygonal shape which has water inside it this shape has a fountain to make the atmosphere of the Khan nicer.

A living witness to the Islamic Arab architecture

Khan As’ ad Pasha Al-Azm

Syria has been characterized across all ages by its important strategic location in the heart of the ancient world leading to flourishing trade since ancient times, especially as it lies on the silk Road. Damascus was one of the cities that contributed to the flourishing commercial activity which led to the emergence of a special type of service buildings called cells (Khan). Building cells spread in the Ottoman era multiplied its functions between the quartering of convoys and provisioning of or facilities for the purposes of mail the word Alkhan is Persian means (staying overnight) and cells are three types which is as follows: bowl, charitable and private. The khans on the roads were built at a rate of Khan for each stage of the road as commercial stations for convoys. In addition the Khans built inside the city and had the role of trade and there are khans which were built near the fence of the city of Damascus to ease the pressure on the city during the pilgrimage and trade season and those Khans were receiving the arrivals from the villages and towns around Damascus to work.

Cells (khan) were built outside and within cities and they were providing convenience for travelers such as bedrooms Mosques and stables some of them had been allocated to certain types of trade such as silk spices and coffee.

The traders and pilgrim convoys used to go to khans to meet in their spacious yards and open big markets for the exchange of valuable goods such as silk spices coffee and precious stones and they placed their goods in the rooms of the ground floor which they used as warehouses and offices; while they were using the first floor rooms to sleep and rest while their horses and camels were placing them in during the night in the stables outside the cells.

Khans are a vital part of the culture and heritage of the old city of Damascus and a living witness to the social artistic and economic life of the city and one of the historians in the late 19th century mentioned that the number of khans in Damascus were /139/khans and the Khan As’ad Pasha Al-AZM was the greatest and most famous one.

Khan As’ad pasha was built during the reign of prince of Damascus As’ad Pasha Al-AZM who ruled between 1743-1757 it had been started creating it in 1751 and was ended in 1753 thus the period of construction lasted only for one year and two months As’ad pasha had wanted it to be the greatest khan of his time and it was.

Khan As’ad Pasha is located southeast of the Umayyad Mosque in the center of the famous market Bzourieh in the center of old city of Damascus and an estimated area of (2500) square meters. The designer has focused on the western wall overlooking Al-Bzourieh market and made the interface khan major rich decoration and embellishments and includes the front wooden gate leading to a large vestibule connects the square courtyard covered with eight domes mounted on four columns Alkhan consists of two floors distributed their rooms around the yard. The entrance to the khan is in the middle of the western facade and on both sides from the inside there are two corners each of them has a tap and above each corner there is a window which has a very fantastic decorated framework the gate of the khan is armored with iron wood and decorated with nails consisting of two panels of wood in one of them there is a small door ( the door of plums) which was opening off-trade movement in the night to allow access for residents and easy to protect them in the khan…to be continued.

Haifaa Mafalani