Historical site in Damascus

Straight Street

Explore Straight Street in Syria, a historic road with Roman arches, traditional Damascene architecture, and rich cultural experiences.

Straight Street, a significant historical thoroughfare in Syria's oldest continuously inhabited city, stands as a testament to the rich history of the region. Known as the Via Recta in the ancient Roman era, this road has witnessed centuries of change, from the Hellenistic period through Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic rule. Visitors today can explore the remaining Roman archways and traditional Damascene architecture, offering a glimpse into the layered past of this storied street.

Architectural Landmarks of Straight Street

As you walk along Straight Street, you will encounter remnants of Roman triumphal arches that once marked the entrances to the city. These gateways serve as a dramatic backdrop to the street and are essential for understanding the historical significance of the area. The stretch is also known for its traditional Damascene houses, characterized by their courtyards and elaborate doors. One such house is the Azem Palace, a fine example of Ottoman-era architecture, now functioning as the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions, where visitors can delve into Syrian cultural heritage.

Dining and Local Cuisine

Straight Street and its surroundings are a great place to experience Syrian culinary traditions. For an authentic taste of local flavors, visit Bakdash, the famous ice cream shop in the Al-Hamidiyah Souq just off Straight Street. Known for its pistachio-covered booza, a stretchy Arabic ice cream, this establishment has been delighting locals and tourists alike for decades. Small local eateries and street vendors also offer dishes such as shawarma, falafel, and a variety of stuffed pastries, reflecting the diverse palette of Syrian cuisine.

Shopping and Crafts on Straight Street

Shopping on Straight Street is an opportunity to purchase unique Syrian handicrafts. The street and its neighboring alleyways are lined with small shops selling everything from intricate textiles and jewelry to handmade soaps and spices. For those interested in fine craftsmanship, a visit to the Damascus Sword Shop is essential. Here you can observe artisans create beautiful examples of the famous Damascene steel blades. Additionally, the nearby Al-Hamidiyah Souq is an atmospheric market where one can find an array of local crafts and souvenirs.

Accommodation Options

For travelers looking to stay on or near Straight Street, there are several hotels and guesthouses that offer a blend of comfort and local charm. Some of these establishments are refurbished historical buildings, providing guests with a unique lodging experience. The prices vary from budget-friendly inns to luxurious boutique hotels, catering to different preferences and needs.

Meeting the Locals and Cultural Practices

Interaction with the residents of Straight Street might lead you to coffee houses where local men often gather to play backgammon or share stories over a cup of strong Arabic coffee. Observing or even participating in these everyday customs provides insight into the social fabric of Damascus.

Transportation Around Straight Street

Navigating Straight Street and the surrounding area is relatively straightforward. The street is pedestrian-friendly, allowing visitors to explore on foot at their leisure. For longer distances, taxis are readily available and offer efficient travel throughout the city.

Safety for Visitors

As with any travel destination, it is crucial for visitors to be aware of their surroundings and follow local advice on safety. Awareness about the current political climate is also essential when planning your trip.

Nearby Attractions

In proximity to Straight Street, you will find several noteworthy sites like the Damascus Citadel and the Umayyad Mosque, one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world with a shrine that is said to contain the head of John the Baptist. Also within walking distance is Saladin's Mausoleum, offering visitors insight into the legacy of one of the most iconic figures in Islamic history.

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