The Jaqmaq School Confines the history of Arabic Calligraphy

Just steps from the northern gate of the Umayyad Mosque, and behind he Shrine of Saladin stands the Jaqmaq Madrsa (school). Once you step in there you feel the sanctity of the place emanating from the depth of history, particularly that you are in one of the oldest and most important schools of Old Damascus.

A living history

The school was built, by Prince Saifeddin Jaqmaq, viceroy of the Mamelouk Sultan in 1419 AD, as a madrasa and later it enshrined his tomb and that of his mother. For several generations the school graduated many groups of educated people, but in 1941 its flame was extinguished by the shells of French artillery.

Al Jamajem Valley... The Land of Waterfalls, Springs

DAMASCUS (ST) - Al Jamajem (skulls) Valley is unlike the others.The skulls in it have immortalized the memory of its explorers who entered it and did not get out. The water mills in it narrate the tales of grandparents and the waterfalls, which enchanted theamateurs and adventurers.

The valley has many names such as al Mheini valley, al Shalaga valley and the popular name the Skulls Valley.

There are many waterfalls and a group of mills amid this valley. The owners of the mills were living next door and parts of them still existuntil today.

Qatna... A Kingdom of Gold

 

When visiting Homs, the largest Syrian province in Syria, we usually visit Palmyra, the Crack des Chevaliers as well as other historical places in the vicinity, forgetting visiting some of the most important, but not promoted, places which we know only from textbooks and electronic sites, like the kingdom of Qatna, one of the largest archeological places dating back to the Bronze Age, 18km from Homs.

In 1973 and before the Tall was occupied by a small village, alMisherfeh with its beautiful country side mud houses built on already built stone bases which were found underground. Because these bases were costless and strong, people started to dig for them to build over them. Not a long time passed when in the middle of the 19th century, people realized that they were building on a historical place.

A Seleucid Miracle Called

Afamia

A dramatic contradiction occurs between the grey stones and the fertile emerald green meadows, so the place became a strategic center and an eternal symbol, especially that the prominent coastal mountains create a magic back ground for this scenery, while the plains of alGhab and the Orontes Valley surrounds it like a bracelet holding a precious jewel. Therefore it was natural for the Seleucids, grand children of Alexander the Great, to chose this place and make of it a wonder of time and a metropolis to the whole East. It is 250km north east of Damascus.

The Umayyad Mosque

The Pulsing Heart of Damascus And The Link Between Earth And Heaven

 

The Umayyad Mosque is undoubtedly one of early Islam’s most magnificent monuments, stands on a site which has been held sacred for the last three millennia, its chameleonic biography reflecting the monumental shifts in the history of the city.

The compound of the Aramaic temple of “Hadad” and, later, the Roman Temple of Jupiter would have stretched from the grand archway at the eastern end of the Hamidiye Souk right over to the monumental gate that lies half buried beneath the street level, some 120 m beyond the eastern gate of the present day mosque.

 Within this huge enclosure would have been an inner compound corresponding to the dimensions of the mosque today. In the late fourth century AD the temple was converted into a Church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, though to cover roughly the same area as today’s prayer hall.