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Wednesday, May 3


Ugly concrete dirty buildings, built-up narrow streets, randomness, chaos, nothing is symmetrical even in the same one building, order does not exist, gardens and parks are seldom to spot, Damascus from Qassioun Mountain looks like a jungle made of concrete. Alas, it is not beautiful.
I suggest sentences like “ Damascus is located in the middle of an oasis called el-Ghouta” or “Damascus is surrounded by a green bracelet called el-Ghouta (which was once defined as a small paradise on earth)”, should be omitted, edited and replaced by sentences such as “ Damascus is surrounded by ugliness, by unsightly outskirts, by desert, by pollution… Damascus should be saved"


  • But who's to save Ghalia?

    Like all beautiful things, it hurts to see damascus fade away like this...

    By Blogger Yazan, at 3/5/06 6:03 PM  

  • You should find a game called "Sim City". It gives a pretty good idea of the problems cities face as they grow older.

    By Anonymous Fester, at 3/5/06 7:15 PM  

  • once, when flying over damascus, i thought its development was creating a fractal shape..that is a very plausible theory if you think of it, a kind of markovian shape series

    By Blogger Steliano Ponticos, at 3/5/06 7:33 PM  

  • very true Ghalia..
    I think we have much to learn from western capitals, where land is in higher demand, but green space is respected and kept

    By Blogger Omar, at 3/5/06 8:36 PM  

  • bisara7a ana b akher kam seneh krht elsham bas allah kbeer its stay el-sham our love

    By Blogger hamwy, at 3/5/06 11:11 PM  

  • actually.. the building code of the city of Damascus enforces that when you build over a piece of land, the building area should not exceed 60% of the whole land area, and all the rest should be green (of course.. 7ibr 3ala wara2)
    so one of the solution to this problem is.. well.... OBEY THE LAW..
    and, of course, the idiotic decision to plant "pepper" trees and ths other kind (which I can't remember the name of now.. akacia?).. those trees are more grey than green, they can not grow thick enough to provide shadow.. their leaves are too small to produce oxygen when exposed to the sun.. and they're just plain ugly..

    and the third thing was: when you have a park in the city plan.. it is by definition A GREEN SPACE.. not a concrete surface with lots of chairs and tiles, and a few trees here and there (look at Teshreen park.. the green space is not well take care of, and the tiled space is HUGE.. )

    and a third thing is: DESTOY YALBOUGHA center.. this big.. ugly.. bulky.. irritating.. hybrid.. mutant.. thing (I can't even call it a building).. you know how many trees can be planted there?

    arrgh.. my old architectural frustration is surfacing again... now I'm never gonna stop.. RUN!!!!

    By Blogger Omar, at 3/5/06 11:33 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Amr T, at 4/5/06 1:48 AM  

  • Trust a 'Tulaimat' to come up with this last suggestion.. move the capital to Homs, indeed!!!..
    BTW, Amr, are you related to Dr. Hassan Tulaimat?.. He was a classmate and a good friend of mine.. If you are, please get him to e-mail me on 'syrianbrit@hotmail.co.uk'.. I would love to hear from him and catch up with his news.. (I will, of course, expose my real identity to him)

    By Blogger The Syrian Brit, at 4/5/06 8:53 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Amr T, at 4/5/06 9:46 PM  

  • It is too late and the government will do too little to save the city. Not only Damascus city itself is in chaos; but its outskirts and suburbs are even worse, from east to west illegal housing are being built everyday to house people who do not have the means to buy decent housing in the city. Every time I come home in the summer I feel like Damascus is about to explode from overcrowding, pollution and bad management. I truly think the capital should be moved somewhere else, Homs or maybe Latakia!!! Once the capital is moved and the millions of government workers move out too, Damascus will recover in few years if we commit to cleaning it and if we elect honest and hardworking city counsel members. I guess this remain a dream and will never see the light of day, Viva Damascus...

    By Anonymous Mughtareb, at 5/5/06 12:27 AM  

  • Nice Post,

    every year i come here i feel that it is getting worse..
    more problems for the city, more people, no rules, no green spots, more smoke......the list is long.

    it is not the city, it is the people doing this by thier behaviuor...
    it is sad....
    so sad...

    it will take ages to change them and undo the damage..

    By Blogger Sam..., at 5/5/06 1:02 AM  

  • we need a new legislations and enterprises to remove and rebuilt illegal housing
    we need ((honest and hardworking city counsel members))
    we need groups of real syrian ppl can work hard to
    awaking others , write about , and much more useful things
    but ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh what can we do ?
    one hand ????

    By Blogger ayhm jzzan, at 5/5/06 6:59 PM  

  • moving the capital away? ..
    it would be great. .. no kidding

    By Blogger Shady Zayat, at 10/5/06 4:59 AM  

  • Recently, with the modernization of third world countries, it seems that they are illusioned by the scrapers and technology outbound, but do not really focus on other issues pertaining to the spatial construction, such as making a greener world and improving the landscape of their "home". Alas, the third worlders are, sorry to say, blind and stupid. Where are we, look beyond what instigates a fight or flight response in you, and try to understand why it has been set morons!

    By Anonymous Taha khayr, at 17/5/06 5:09 AM  

  • I have always been under the impression that Damascus is a very charming city in spite of the dirt eating up the city. Last year I went to Syria (I hadn't been there for 3 years) and suddenly discovered dirt and recklessness and carelessness. I was pretty shocked that there weren't ANY garbage dispensers in the streets. People threw everything away on the streets, while in Denmark where I live, I am used to hold my garbage until I find a dispenser. But it was pretty much impossible in Damascus. When I went to the ministry of Education in Damascus; the man asked me what I thought of Sham, and I just couldn't lie. I told him I was very sad to see people not caring for their country's future and nature, when throwing everything outside the window. He was stunned-clearly not the answer he wanted. But he did say I was right.
    In spite of that I still think there is something very charming about Damascus. Maybe it's because it was called Paradise on Earth by our belowed Prophet (pbuh) :)
    I hope that people in Sham start a revolution within themselves and think about the future. Think about your grandchildren. What kind of world do YOU want them to live in?

    By Blogger Charming Damascus, at 27/5/06 12:36 AM  

  • I have already written concerning this topic and came up to the conclusion, We must build back those marvelous building that we used to build during the ottoman occupation and before such as the former railway station in damascus. Now we want to make money, easy and quickly but the problem is that those new buildings are not being built in order to last, 30 years are enough fo those buildings to become ruins, classified!!!!
    wa alsalam 3alaykoum

    By Blogger Oz, at 17/7/06 7:59 PM  

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