DamascusThis is about Damascus, the capital of Syria. There are also Damascus, Maryland, Damascus, Pennsylvania, and Damascus, Virginia.
Damascus (Arabic: دمشق, Dimashq or (Dimashq) al-sham) is the capital of Syria. It is one of the world's oldest cities. According to the New Testament, St Paul was on the road to Damascus when he received a vision, was struck blind and as a result converted to Christianity. The city is therefore a centre of both Christian and Muslim faith.
Major sights of Damascus include:
Damascus, settled about 2500 B.C., is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It was the capital of a powerful Aramaic state in the 9th and 8th Centuries BC, before being captured and sacked by the Assyrians. At that point, it lost its independence for hundreds of years, falling under Neo-Babylonian, Persian, Seleucid, and Roman rule. Damascus was conquered by the Caliph Omar in A.D. 636. Immediately thereafter, the city's power and prestige reached its peak when it became the capital of the Omayyad Empire, which extended from Spain to India from A.D. 661 to A.D. 750, when the Abbasid caliphate was established at Baghdad, Iraq.
After this, Damascus was ruled from Baghdad, and then, for a time, by the Fatimid Caliphs in Cairo. With the arrival of the Seljuk Turks in the late 11th Century, Damascus again became the capital of independent states. It was ruled by a Seljuk dynasty from 1079 to 1104, and then by another Turkish dynasty - the Burid Emirs, until 1154. In that year it was conquered by the famous Zengid Atabeg Nur ad-Din of Aleppo, the great foe of the Crusaders, who made it his capital. Following the death of Nur ed-Din, it was acquired by Saladin, the ruler of Egypt, who also made it his capital. In the years following Saladin's death, there were frequent conflicts between different Ayyubid rulers ruling in Damascus and Cairo.
Ayyubid rule (and independence) came to an end with the Mongol invasion of Syria in 1260, and Damascus became a provincial capital of the Mameluke Empire following the Mongol withdrawal. It was largely destroyed in 1400 by Tamerlane, the Mongol conqueror, who removed many of its craftsmen to Samarkand. Rebuilt, it continued to serve as a provincial capital until 1516. In 1517, it fell under Ottoman rule. The Ottomans remained for the next 400 years, except for a brief occupation by Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt from 1832 to 1840.
In 1918, Damascus was captured by the British and their Arab allies at the end of the First World War. An attempt to create an Arab kingdom under the Emir Faisal was defeated by the French in 1920, who made Damascus the capital of their League of Nations Mandate of Syria. When Syria became independent in 1946, Damascus remained the capital.
See Also: History of Syria