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Damascus – Umayyad Mosque
دمشق – الجامع الاموي

The most important monument in Damascus (دمشق), and perhaps the entire country, is the magnificent Umayyad Mosque (الجامع الاموي). No single historic site symbolizes the rich and varied cultural heritage of Syria as does this remarkable mosque. It has served as a place of worship continuously for several millennia, a holy place for over a thousand years even prior to the arrival of Islam. While …


The city of al-Raqqa (الرقة) is one of Syria’s smaller provincial capitals and is seldom visited by tourists, but nonetheless has a rich history and some interesting archaeological sites. Most impressive of these is the Abbasid-era mosque, although only the minaret and some arches survive. Nearby are the remains of a small Abbasid-era palace. The old city was once fully enclosed by fortification walls, some of …


Harqaleh (هرقلة) is a little known site from the Abbasid period located about seven kilometers west of al-Raqqa (الرقة). Built by Harun al-Rashid to commemorate his victory over Byzantine forces, there is debate as to whether the site served as a palace or as a monument. The site is roughly one hundred meters by one hundred meters square, with towers at each of the four corners. …