What travelers say
Damascus, settled about 2500 BC, claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the whole world. Its first appearance in history, is as a city conquered in the 15th century BC by the Pharaoh Thutmosis III.
It was the capital of a powerful Aramaic state in the 9th and 8th centuries BC, before being captured and sacked by the Assyrians. At that point, it lost its independence for hundreds of years, falling under ... More Neo-Babylonian, Persia, Seleucid, and Roman rule.
During World War II, Free French and British forces entered Damascus, which became capital of independent Syria in 1941.
The city is therefore a centre of both Christian and Muslim faith. It was on the way to Damascus, that St. Paul, who was sent to put down the Christians, had the revelation of faith.
Damascus steel gained a legendary reputation among the Crusaders, and patterned steel is still known as "damascened".
Today, Damascus houses the Syrian Government and with an estimated population of 3.5 million, is the hub of Syrian economic affairs. The old city lies south of the Barada river, and the new town lies north of it.
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