Browsing All Posts filed under »Syria«

Scenes from the Souk

June 18, 2009


The main shopping thoroughfare in Damascus is the venerable souk al-Hamidiyya, named after the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II and forms one of the main entrances to the medieval Old City of Damascus. Under the corrugated iron roof lie rows of shops selling jewellery, clothes, leather bags, Arabic perfume and embroidery competing for the masses […]

Shopping in Syria

June 17, 2009


Let’s ignore the global financial crisis for a while, and pretend we actually have money. The natural reaction is to go on a shopping frenzy. This makes perfect sense, because despite calls from financial advisers and ethicists to cut down on spending or worse, eliminate conspicuous consumption altogether, it’s hard to deny that shopping makes […]

Damascus for Munchers

March 18, 2009


The Old City of Damascus is essentially a tangled network of alleyways criss-crossing and snaking through buildings patched up and conjured through centuries of trade and human settlement. This medieval city feels more like a village that has completely outgrown itself, with no planning or consideration for later, modern inventions such as the private automobile. […]

The Sweet Toothed Guide to Damascus

March 15, 2009


The Middle East’s greatest contribution to the culinary world and global happiness is arguably the baklava, along with its many wonderful variations. These tiny morsels of pleasure, made up of a dense, nutty centre surrounded by flaky phyllo pastry drenched in fragrant syrup, works as a pretty good antidote to ward off afternoon fatigue. Just […]

Walls of Syria

March 7, 2009


Damascus, the capital of Syria, touts itself as “the oldest continually inhabited city in the world”. A mouthful, true, but mind-boggling nonetheless when you are reminded of the many great civilizations that once roamed the land – Arameans, Babylonians, Romans, Umayyads, Mamluks, the Ottomans. Indeed, the whole of Syria simply soaks with history, and no […]

Gaza’s Torment

March 4, 2009


I was in Syria during the onslaught of the Israeli incursion into Gaza. Although Western news agencies were effectively barred by Israel from reporting within the borders, the Arab media were able to receive direct updates through its correspondents living amidst the bombings and shootings. We would watch on the Arabic news channels scenes of […]

Syrian Stories

February 4, 2009


Last January, I had the opportunity of visiting Syria in the midst of winter. Winter in Syria is not as frigid or unpredictable as the European winter, with a fairly steady average of around 10 C during the day. I’ve always enjoyed cooler climes so it was the perfect temperament for me. A must-see in […]