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Capital of the Arab Republic of Syria, Damascus claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world (although recent excavations in Aleppo, Syria's other major city, might shift this claim). In its long history it has been the center of the Aramaean region, one of the 10 cities of the Roman Decapolis and the capital of the first (and vast) Islamic empire created by the Umayyads (between 661 and 750) as well as the center of Greater Syria (Bilad ash-Sham


made up of present-day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan). The city still has an incredible architectural heritage, including remains from antiquity, one of the oldest mosques in the Islamic world (the Umayyad mosque built 706-715), and over 8,000 intact commercial buildings and private ...

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