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Al Ghazi Palace … Archaeological Building in the Heart of Damascus

DAMASCUS, (ST) -  Al- Marjeh Square has a unique location in the middle of Damascus city. It links between the past and the present. It combines between ancient and modern patterns of architecture, between residential buildings and commercial markets.

The square was given the name “Al Marjeh” (a field of grass) because of the large orchards and greenery that were around. Later, it was renamed “The Martyrs' Square” to commemorate the martyrs of freedom and the men of science, culture and politics, who were executed in 1916 the late Ottoman era.

Among the historic buildings that have spread inside and on the edge of the square is Al Ghazi Palace, in the western angle of the square, which combined with the Al- Basrori Mosque to form an archaeological landmark dating to an era that witnessed the establishment of the modern residential architecture in Damascus. During that new era, stone and ceramic were used in construction in addition to the absence of inner yards in these houses.

The owner of the palace, Ms. Amal Ghazi, said: "This palace was built by her grandfather Ahmed Shaker Ghazi, one of the Damascene landowners in 1814 on the banks of Barada River."

 “The palace consists of three floors being built in a French rustic style which was common at that era. The front of the building was ornamented with various decorations that were common in that era in addition to various motifs and included some components of the Persian construction including arches and some ornamentations, taking into consideration the maintenance of the Damascene character.” Ms. Ghazi described the landmarks of the palace.

 “The palace is the only one of its kind that belongs to the period in which the “Saraya” (palace) was built and currently occupied by the Ministry of Interior, noting that a solo independent room with a wooden roof was set up at the top of the front alongside another room was installed with holes of glass called "Al Tayara" and above it there is a primitive old design equipment to calculate the speed and the direction of wind. The stair is broad of a specific character of luxury and eastern drawings,” Ms. Ghazi pointed out.

Ms. Ghazi retrieved her memories in the palace, its columns and decorations as a building tells the Damascene civilization heritage. It constitutes a rich museum that depicts the lives of the Syrian people 200 years ago under the attention of the family in the palace and maintaining the different acquisitions of inscriptions, images and statues.

Director of Damascus Countryside Antiquities, Dr. Mahmoud Hammoud, his Directorate occupies the second and the third floors of the palace, explained that Al Ghazi Palace represents a turning point in the evolution of architecture in Damascus. It is known that  the Shami House was built of bricks and wood.
“Damascus governorate has long wanted to turn the square into a modern urban style, but the concern of the owners of the palace in its historical significance urged them to register the palace in the Antiquities Bureau to protect it from demolition,” Dr. Hammoud added.

The director explained the design in which the palace’s arches were built which came on curved and pointed in the head and the second is convex and normal and both arches are based on stone pillars along with decorations that appeared in the front above the windows and on the edges.

For his part, Eng. Mohamed Tawfiq Malass who hires an office inside the palace said that the palace represents a new phase in the architecture but who enters the palace feels immediately that he is inside a Damascene original house through small details such as marble seats and decorated arches.
There is no doubt that the two hundred- year age palace and the unique design in which it was built, in terms of pairing between the European and the Damascene arts of architecture, will give the palace double importance, encouraging incentive for promotion of the palace and giving it the value it deserves.

Sh. Kh.

Sanjakdar Quarter… The Heart of Damascus

Sanjakdar is a Turkish name composed of two swords: Sanjak means an administrative district and subdivision of a vilayet (in the Ottoman Empire). Dar: means house or building.  

Some say that Sanjakdar Quarter is the heart of Damascus. It embraces «al Marjeh Square», which includes a number of ancient Damascene markets, some of which date back to hundreds of years.

Its ancient monuments changed after the huge fire had taken place in 1928. It changed a lot today, so it is difficult to define its features. It was the place where cinemas are gathered in the early years of the French occupation of Damascus.

Even though it has been one of the most important districts of Damascus, many of today's youth do not know the limits of «Al-Sanjakdar Quarter».The limits of this quarter begins south of Al-Sanjakdar Mosque down with the main road connecting to al- Thoura Bridge till al- Shamiya mosque north. It also includes al -Marjeh Square, Al- Qaramani Market, Al -Atique Market and Al Hal Old Market in the west through to the beginning of the Al-Sroujyeh Market east.

Al-Sanjakdar Quarter has been a commercial market. It contains a lot of shops specializing in selling Damascene sweets and dried fruits, as well as hotels, cafes, restaurants and cinemas. The tram line also was passing through it going to al -Midan area (the biggest quarter in Damascus).
In 1928, the southern part of adjacent to Al –Tebn (hay) Market exposed to a large fire caused by the outbreak of a fire from «Cinema Al -Nasr», located at the corner of «Al –Nasiri Quarter», where this place included a number of the cinemas, The flame extended to the neighboring shops, wooden houses and restaurants and a part of the Zahret Damascus Cinema burnt. 

After the fire, Al- Sanjakdar Quarter was re- organized and its features changed, new quarters were opened and new names were given.


Sh. Kh.

Temple of Bell Unites the Color of Sky and Earth in Yellow

PALMYRA, (ST) - There is hardly anything in Palmyra only attracts the attention to the city that dazzled the West and the East with its architectural arts, its aesthetic and optical excellence as far as the eye can see, thanks to its rich archaeological buildings, palaces and temples, the most important is Bell, which still remains number one of the most beautiful ruins of the Middle East.

It has been written and said a lot about the temple until it becomes well -known locally and internationally which means that it has taken the right of definition in terms of the archaeological side according to an expression by the tourist guide, Yasmin Shahla.

Mrs. Shahla prefers talking about the temple as she heard of visitors who called it as the Badia (desert) icon. The temple consists of tetragonal- shaped courtyard that is surrounded by a portico with columns of Corinthian capitals lined behind each other in the same manner high and organized in a civilized manner that makes the beholder to it amazed by the consistency of those columns with each to the degree of fondness.

Some of the visitors to the temple feel the importance of mathematics to understand that engineering and innovation in the antiquities of ancestors, said Walid Sa’id, a visitor, who already saw the temple.

“I did not like math but once I visited this temple I began fixing my eyes in those columns and all sides of the temple which take the forms of triangles and so forms and engineering arts  until I began to understand some of the construction of mathematics as if the builder of this great edifice were  aware how the whole world is based on mathematical equation or physical issues that need a long time to understand how to solve them and the need for reflection and patience until we receive our intention,” Mr. Sa’id added.

It is evident that the history of the temple dates back to the first and second centuries AD. It contains a yard, three corridors, a campus and remains of a holy pond still exist, a table and an altar. Apart from being an archaeological valuable site for the amateurs of archeology and history, it is also a tourist catalyst and attracts the attention many people who could feel comfort, quietness and the beauty of life when they visit it, according to Nazir Melchonian of Aleppo.

“When I go to that part of land, I feel as if I was in a legendary and fictitious place, as if I weren’t on the ground because it is located in the desert, sand covers its surroundings and the multiform stones fill its outside yard except for the rays of the sun falls upon as if it were devoted to the temple alone. The one would think that the universe has a sole color, yellow, in the sky and the earth, and even in winter it has a special flavor as the atoms of sand that scatter in the air look like as threads of gold that embrace the columns, at that moment the one feels that he is capable of holding the wind in his hands and making it adapt as he pleases. A feeling you can not be earned only in that beautiful temple,” Mr. Melchonian concluded.

Sh. Kh.

Tel Mohamed Diab

Tel Mohamed Diab is located in the northeast of Syria within the area of the island, in the northern part of ancient Mesopotamia known rich and heavily settled during the third millennium BC. The hill, which is positioned as one of the key locations in the region to the south-west of Maalikis, and broken from the south of the road modern temple, which reaches Elierbeh Qamishli. Ageorh range of hills like Tel Whelan Tel Alrmelan, and to the south of Tel Berri and Tell Brak .The site consists of central Tel and several small hills surrounding it, and the central area of the hill 12 hectares, while the overall area with small hills surrounding 59 hectares.

The results of the excavations clear vision about the early settlement of the site, have been found on many of the breakage pottery dated to the first quarter of the third millennium BC, along with many of the facilities of walls and terraces of milk, as well as it has been detected balls of clay grilled cuneiform signs which indicate the first attempts to start the biblical texts on the site and examples dated on the second half of the third millennium BC.


Source: Discover Syria



Emar was situated on the middle Euphrates in northwest Syria, about 100 km east of Aleppo. Due to its geographical situation connecting Mesopotamia with the Mediterranean coast. The town had a strategic function. Already the earliest mentioning's in writing, namely in the palace archives of Ebla, ca. 2500 BC, and especially in the Mari texts from the 18th century BC, point to the town's importance as traffic junction .

Contrary to its importance as a commercial center, Emar was never the center of a supra-regional power, but was rather awkwardly positioned between rivaling states. The history of Emar can be followed down to the middle of the third millennium BC, or, in archeological terms, down to the Early Bronze Age, when the town came under the influence of the rulers of Ebla and was mentioned in their archives at several instances. For the 13th and the early 12th centuries BC (the Late Bronze Age), there is written documentation from Emar itself and also references in contemporaneous texts from Boazköy/Hattua, Ras Shamra/Ugarit and from Assyria. At that time, the town was part of the Hittite Empire, situated close to the frontier of the rivaling state of Assyria. Emar was subject to the king of Karkami, who represented the Hittite ruler in Syria, a member of the Hittite royal family and the connecting link between Hattua the Hittite capital in central Anatolia, and the Syrian "vassal states."

the Emar texts have mainly been found in private houses. They are, above all, judicial records - concerning, for example, dealings in real estate, marriages, last wills, adoptions - illustrating the private life of the population and, at the same time, showing the consequences of the Hittite conquest for the training of scribes and for society, in general. In the house of a priest, the so-called Temple du Devin (M1), a library was found containing, besides literary and lexical texts in the Mesopotamian tradition, ritual texts for local cults. Particularly noteworthy is the ritual for the installation of the priestess of the weather god. At Emar, archeologists discovered a temple area comprising the sanctuaries of the weathergod Ba'al  and - possibly - of his consort Ashtarte as well as several dwelling-houses dating to the Late Bronze Age (13th and beginning of 12th century BC).


Source: Excavation Emar