Entries by Admin 2

Greater Damascus under the French Mandate: Maaloula

Dr. Hayssam Kadah | Originally published in Born in Damascus Maaloula is a small town located 56 kilometers northeast of Damascus. As is the case with almost every human settlement in the Qalamoun region, two factors determined the choice of its position: a geographical one (the presence of fresh water) and a historical one (the search for security). Christianity remained […]

Carbon nanotechnology in an 17th century Damascus sword

Originally published in National Geographic In medieval times, crusading Christian knights cut a swathe through the Middle East in an attempt to reclaim Jerusalem from the Muslims. The Muslims in turn cut through the invaders using a very special type of sword, which quickly gained a mythical reputation among the Europeans. These “Damascus blades” were extraordinarily […]

Damascus During World War II

Episode Seven: The Rise of the National Party Dimashq Blog | Fadi Esber Six months before Election Day of 1943, the National Bloc was disbanded and renamed the National Party, at the orders of Shukri al-Quwatli (FO 226/240/9/4/180, Memorandum to FO, 29 April 1943). It was an audacious decision and earnest attempt at breaking with the […]


Dr. Hayssam Kadah | Originally published in Born in Damascus The first systematic exploration of Damascus is credited to the German archaeologists and historians Carl Watzinger (1877-1948) and Karl Wulzinger (1886-1949) who devotedly and rigorously researched and described the city’s monuments  attempting in the process a restitution of its ancient urban fabric. Their field work […]

Preserving the Past in Damascus Builds Hope for the Future

Historian and political analyst Sami Moubayed discusses his efforts to preserve the Syrian capital’s archives and cultural history and the war’s impact on the country’s many ancient sites and artifacts. By Alessandria Masri | Originally published in Syria Deeply Long before Damascus became Syria’s capital, the city was conquered by Alexander the Great, redesigned by ancient […]

Damascus During World War II

Episode Six: The Presidency of Sheikh Taj Dimashq Blog | Fadi Esber Under pressure from Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle decided to restore a limited form of self-rule to Syria. There was only one politician in Damascus who still had power and presidential ambitions. His name was Taj al-Din al-Hasani. Approaching his sixtieth birthday, the ex-Prime Minister […]

Damascus During World War II

Epsidode 5: Churchill’s Man in Damascus Dimashq Blog | Fadi Esber The new Syria that emerged in the midst of World War II was now run not by a Frenchman but an Englishman named Edward Spears. He was Great Britain’s new ambassador to Syria and Lebanon, handpicked for the job by Churchill. Spears knew almost nothing […]

Damascus During World War II

Episode 4: The Allies Take Damascus Dimashq Blog | Fadi Esber On 29 May 1941, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden walked into Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of the City of London. He was expected to address the major developments of Syria. Damascus was all ears. Reflecting the thoughts of Prime Minister […]

Syrian Oral History: Racing against time and war

Dimashq Blog | Fadi Esber In the late 1960s the American University of Beirut launched the first project of its kind in the Middle East on Oral History. The pioneering endeavor continued up until the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in the mid-1970s, with only a handful of Lebanese and Syrian notables interviewed. It remains as […]

Damascus During World War II

Episode 3: Trouble in Vichy Damascus   Dimashq Blog | Fadi Esber Furious with the flurry of Nazi diplomatic activity in Syria and Lebanon, General de Gaulle, commander of the Free French Forces, dispatched General George Catroux to Cairo on 27 September 1940. He came from Algeria disguised as a French-speaking Canadian businessman, with a fake […]