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 Home > Damascene Palaces > Damascene Houses

Old Damascene houses are palaces in the full meaning of the word. What distinguish these houses from others is more than one thing, the paintings which decorate the walls of these houses are the first thing which make these houses museums or galleries. Generally, the old Damascene houses were the people's rest places, their aesthetical pleasures and their representative in the social life. A visit to these houses will certainly have its share in enriching lovers' test.

A Damascene house which is typical of oriental architecture mirrors the social requirements, copes with Islamic traditions, and releases on the raw materials that are found in the Ghouta "farms and gardens that were surrounding Damascus" and overlooking the mountains.

Nevertheless, it is always decorated with the beautiful handicrafts that marveled at the hands of the habitants. These houses are located inside the wall and the few neighborhoods outside the wall such as "Meedan", "Sarouja" and some parts of "Salhieh". The house looked solid and sealed off from the outside, but inside all rooms looks on spacious open courtyard with trees planted here and there and a water basin in the center. The rooms are large and comfortable. More often there is a second floor over the ground floor, having windows that open to the marrow streets. A quite family life is enjoyed here amidst lovely ornaments created of gypsum, the hard earth, wood or marble made even more beautiful by inscriptions of Islamic calligraphy or a symphony of color and craved wood which decorate the walls and ceilings. On the walls there are shelves where books or utensils, pots and cups are stored in a manner meant to be decorative.

The inhabitants used to be three generation family, their neighbors where most often kinsmen and friends, the alleys are separated by larger gates which open to markets, mosques, bath houses or fountains and schools. In some cases, the second floor of one house protruded over part of the street, and these come so close together that the alley might look like a tunnel.

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