The Development of the Muhajireen Quarter

Dr. Hayssam Kadah | Dimashq Blog

Many are under the impression that the Muhajireen Quarter began as a shelter to refugees from the island of Crete in the last decade of the 19th century but this is neither precise nor quite accurate.
As could be seen in this simplified plan, the first refugees from Rumelia were settled in a small group of dwellings in 1895-1896. The second wave came from Crete in 1900. The areas occupied by these two groups were located 500 meters west of the ancient Salihyia Quarter. They were rather limited in extension and uncultivated since their inhabitants had to carry water from the Yazid Canal, located 30 meters below their modest homes.
The real beginning of the Muhajireen neighborhood was after 1905 and specifically after harnessing the necessary water to be stored in the tank (see attached picture) between 1903-1908. This made practicable the operation of dividing the space into spacious lots to be occupied with elegant houses favored with a superb view of the city. The inauguration of the Marja-Muhajireen Tramway line was to play a vital role in the expansion of the urban tissue thus created.
Seen on the left of the plan is the location of Nazim Pasha’s villa and about the middle that of the famous Mastaba or platform where Kaiser Wilhelm II contemplated Damascus during his visit of 1898.

Dr. Hayssam Kadah is a medical doctor and a Damascus University graduate. He resides in Crown Point, Indiana.

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