Beit Khalid al-Azem (بيت خالد العظم) is an impressive Ottoman-era house that once belonged to the prominent al-Azem (العظم) family. This luxurious residence was constructed in the 18th century in the historic Sarouja (ساروجة) neighborhood, a short distance northwest of the old city of Damascus (دمشق). It covers 3,136 square meters, making it one of the largest historic residences in the city. The enormous central courtyard is particularly remarkable, offering peace and tranquility in the center of this busy city. After falling into neglect, Beit Khalid al-Azem (بيت خالد العظم) was acquired by the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) in 1969, and restorations were conducted during the 1970s. The home is open to the public and is now known as the Damascus Historical Museum (متحف دمشق التاريخي). There is a modest entrance fee to visit.
The previous owner of the home, Khalid al-Azem (خالد العظم), was born in 1903 and graduated from the University of Damascus in 1923 with a degree in law. He became heavily involved in politics, following the example of many other men in his family, joining the city government in 1925. Khalid al-Azem (خالد العظم) was appointed Prime Minister and Interim President of Syria by the French in 1941, though he was replaced only five months later. He served in parliament and in several cabinet positions in subsequent years, and held the position of Prime Minister a total of six times during his political career. His wealthy Ottoman background led him to be viewed by many as an aristocrat, and he strongly opposed Egyptian President Nasser and Syria’s union with Egypt. After the Baath Party took power in Syria in 1963, Khalid al-Azem (خالد العظم) went into exile in Lebanon, where he died in 1965.
Getting There: Beit Khalid al-Azem (بيت خالد العظم) is located about one hundred meters northeast of the intersection of two major streets, Shakri al-Quwatli (شكري القوتلي) and Sharaa al-Thawreh (شارع الثورة). This intersection is approximately two hundred meters northwest of the old city of Damascus (دمشق) and about a five minute walk north of the western entrance of al-Hamidiyeh Market (سوق الحميدية). The entrance to Beit Khalid al-Azem (بيت خالد العظم) is on the northern side of the home, somewhat hidden in the parking lot of a government building on Sharaa al-Thawreh (شارع الثورة).
Coordinates: 33°30’58.00″N / 36°18’04.00″E
Transliteration Variants: Beit Khaled al-Azem, Beit Khalid al-Azm, Beit Khaled al-Azm, Beit Khalid al-Azam, Beit Khaled al-Azam
Rating: (5 / 10)