"Umayyad Mosque, Damascus" Syria Things to Do Tip by Clara_Louise

Syria Things to Do: 414 reviews and 569 photos

The Pope visited this mosque in 2001 and Jesus is due to appear here on the Day of Judgement. I'd recommend that you put in an appearance too as it is quite incredible. Architecturally it is ornate and beautiful and the central shrine holds the head of John the Baptist, hence the Pope's visit. It is also a good place to people-watch, escape the hustle and bustle of central Damascus, have a nap or even pray!

The entry fee for non-Muslim foreigners is 150 Syrian pounds, which isn't much at all. Included in this price for girls is a Harry Potter-esque brown robe. I tried wearing very conservative clothes and a headscarf but the guard was having none of it- the brown robe was compulsory, although the buttons had fallen off so it wasn't an effective cover!

You must remove your shoes- you can carry them with you in a bag or leave them on a shoe rack, for which a tip will be requested as you leave.

Walk across the scorching marble floor of the huge outdoor courtyard and watch children run around cartwheeling, families feed pigeons, men sleep in the corners and people wash their face, hands and feet before going to pray.

Inside, I was amazed at the size and at the sheer variety of activities. Some people were praying but others were chatting, eating, napping, hoovering the carpet and taking photos with their mobile phones. Kids were playing and climbing on things.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Oct 3, 2006
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