Posts tagged “Damascus

Damascus

Posted on March 8, 2012

There are seven gates surrounding the Old City of Damascus and to pass through any of them is to enter a time warp, where you leave the present behind and step into a world of fantasy and make believe. Time has stood still in the oldest inhabited city in the world and all semblance of modernity has failed to penetrate its inner walls. Cars are almost non-existent and the sounds that you hear are of horse and donkey hooves and the myriad of footsteps in the narrow, cobbled alleyways. Go by night when darkness settles over the city and Damascenes flock to the sanctuary of this place in search of spiritual guidance, shopping or just the wonderful conviviality of its people. Step into the…

Amman-Jordan

Posted on January 31, 2012

I first visited Amman in the winter of 1980.  It was cold, wet and windy and the capital’s 500,000 inhabitants retreated behind the stark concrete walls of their houses and apartments that stretched over the hills surrounding the city. It was relatively small compared with bustling Cairo or Damascus and appeared to have little of their charm, intimate architecture or extensive historical heritage. There were just two international hotels, the Intercontinental and the Holiday Inn, and these were packed with consultants, businessmen and the occasional traveller. Look and you will find a mix of ancient and modern in Amman, Jordan Returning there in 2010, I was shocked by the scale and density of the city with its population now standing at over 2.4 million – almost half that…