This week I’m featuring superb photography of Great Umayyad Mosque from Damascus in Syria. Taken by Enrique Manzano from Hardcore Viajero Blog. You can follow his crazy adventures on Facebook and Twitter as well!
I have chosen this pictures because Syria is a country I always wanted to visit but as for now I have to settle down for photos unfortunately.
Picture Story: Great Umayyad Mosque, Syria
Sometimes, the best way to enjoy the sights is simply by looking up. This piece of architectural grandeur isn’t a skyscraper nor towering Gothic Cathedral spires but one of the three minarets of the Great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria.
It dates back to the 6th century. It served as a Christian Cathedral before its conversion to a mosque. According to the legend, this is where John The Baptist’s bones are buried.
Great Umayyad Mosque is surrounded by bustling market square, shops and tea houses. This grand building sprawls right in the heart of the Old City of Damascus. It reminded me a bit of Córdoba, considering that its history is directly related to Damascus during the Al-Andalus period.
Although I visited Syria in spring, the heat was stifling, not to mention the streets full of people. There were countless vendors offering goods, children playing street football, elderly people smoking shisha, a group of backpackers roaming the old town and a German-speaking tourist arguing with a local refusing to buy his product. The whole scene was a big mosaic of different people with different stories. As I took my escape from the crowd, I suddenly found myself on a more quiet street where I found this minaret. I stood right there in awe as the threatening thick clouds swiftly hovered above the tower, turning the blue skies grey in no time. Together with a massive flock of birds flying wildly in different directions it looked so mysterious!
Observing the scenario was like being caught in an apocalyptic moment but I somehow felt rather entertained as I watched the entire scene happening before me. I stayed standing below the towering minaret until the birds were gone and it started to drizzle.
I considered myself lucky to be able to visit Syria in 2010, exactly a year before the civil war started out. Despite the bad situation going on in the country, I would rather remember it as a place where I found my freedom and peace.